How is recycled cotton made?
Cotton is recycled using pre-consumer and post-consumer cotton waste. Pre-consumer waste is usually gathered from any excess yarn produced during yarn production and fabrics waste in form of selvedge from weaving and remnant fabric from the cutting department of the factory. While post-consumer waste comes from discarded textile products such as used apparel and home textiles.
In the recycling process firstly, cotton waste is sorted by type and colour. Then, processed through shredding machines that break the yarns and fabric into small pieces and further into the raw fiber. The obtained fibers are carded several times to properly mix the fibers and thereby, making the batch of fibers more uniform. Largely, recycled cotton is obtained through mechanical recycling. The resulting recycled cotton fiber obtained is shorter in length than the virgin cotton fiber and so it is more difficult to spin the recycled cotton fiber. It is therefore usually blended with virgin cotton fibers to improve yarn strength. Generally, in the finished yarn or fabric not more than 30% of the content of recycled cotton is used. As the cotton waste is already dyed, re-dyeing usually does not take place.