Recycled Fabrics: The New Trend

With everyone’s attention on our environment, there are new recycled fabrics and fabric products popping up all over the place, including the crafting and sewing market! Clothing companies are coming up with new ways to recycle polyesters, plastic bags, and plastic bottles, etc. So, eco-friendly, recycled  fabrics have started to hit the market with greater enthusiasm than ever.

Most of us know about natural eco-friendly fabrics, like cotton, hemp, burlap, bamboo, and wool, but when using these fabrics, they are only eco-friendly if they are organic, and meet the Organic criteria.

Recycling Fabric Becomes More Mainstream

It’s crazy to think that our clothing and fabrics are now coming from discarded plastic bags, and plastic bottles, but that is the new trend in textiles. Do a search on Etsy, and you’ll find more than enough options in recycled jewelry, clothes, furniture, and bags. It’s wonderful to see things come full circle, and exciting to see people taking responsibility for their environment. It’s important to remember, though, that none of these recycled fabrics are considered eco-friendly unless their production has a neutral or positive effect on the environment. Recycling fabrics does take plastic out of our landfills, and that is a huge plus in our planet’s favor.

Recycled Fabrics and Textiles

How Recycled Fabrics “Happen”

The plastic is spun into yarn fibers, and then repurposed into new fabric and clothing. The plastic bottles that they use are actually polyester bottles, known as polyester’s correct name, Polyethylene Terephthalate. Once they are chopped up and melted down, they are able to be brought back to original polyester form, then forced through very small nozzles, under tremendous pressure to create fine fibers. They are also being used in home furnishings such as carpets, drapes, etc. For instance, much of the craft felt, such as Eco-fi is made using recycled plastic bottles. So, when you recycle your plastic bottles, remember you may be wearing it, crafting with it, walking on it, or sitting on it! Recycling your plastic one part of supporting recycling, and buying recycled products is the other part.

Not only are new recycled fabrics coming from our discarded plastic and existing fabrics and clothing, but polyester is now being recycled into new fabric as well. If you are further interested in the process, data, and companies involved in textile recycling, there is a lot of information at Textile World.

Of course, finding these recycled fabric and textile products made in the USA is another major task. There are a few textile companies that produce eco-friendly textiles in the US, but finding fabrics in a retail setting is difficult. Probably the best thing to do is search online or ask your local fabric store if they carry recycled fabrics.

Certification Guarantees High Standards

When you are shopping for recycled fabrics, clothing, yarns, or home furnishings, and are looking for recycled products, look for certification to insure that the product has been produced in a way that meets all of criteria to be labeled eco-friendly, which includes production practices that conserve natural resources, non toxic chemical use, and reduce burden on enviroment. There are several certifying organizations that insure high quality in textile recycling. These were the two that I came across in my search.

Personally, I have had experience with different recycled products, but recently, with recycled clothing, and I was amazed at how soft they felt! My husband has a sweatshirt made from recycled materials, and he loves it. I have also used the recycled felt, and found it very easy to work with in craft projects. Recycling, when done properly, is a good thing for everyone. It reduces waste in our land fills, keeps things moving in reproduction. I hope you do your part in recycling your home waste, and adventure out to purchase recycled products as gifts for loved ones, or try some of the recycled fabrics for crafts and DIY projects at home.

Resources: Newton Fiber2Fashion All Recycling Facts Textile World


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