Textile Recycling | Importance of Textile Recycling | Textile Recycling Process

Recycling is a processing which is used waste into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials. Textile recycling is the method of reusing or reprocessing used clothing, fibrous material and clothing scraps from the manufacturing process. Textiles in municipal solid waste are found mainly in discarded clothing, although other sources include furniture, carpets, tires, footwear, and nondurable goods such as sheets and towels.
Textile recycling process
Fig: Textile recycling process
Importance of Textile Recycling
Textile recycling is for both, environmental and economic benefits. It avoids many polluting and energy intensive processes that are used to make textiles from fresh materials.
  1. Demand is reduced for textile chemicals like dyes and fixing agents.
  2. The requirement of landfill space is reduced. Textiles lead to many problems in landfill. Synthetic fibers don't decompose. Woolen garments do decompose but produce methane, which contributes to global warming. 
  3. Leads to balance of payments as we buy fewer materials for our requirements.
  4. As fibers get locally available, they don't have to be transported from abroad thus reducing pollution and saving energy.
  5. Lesser energy is consumed while processing, as items don't need to be re-dyed or scoured.
  6. Waste water reduces as it does not have to be thoroughly washed with large volumes of water as it is done for, say, raw wool.
  7. Pressure on fresh resources too is reduced.
Which recycling are done in Textile
  1. Used Clothing
  2. Used Footwear
  3. Leather Recycling
  4. Textile Recycling Employment
  5. Other Textile Waste
  6. Cotton Recycling
  7. Wool Recycling
  8. Burlap, Jute and Sisal Recycling
  9. Polyurethane Foam Recycling
  10. Polyester and Polyester Fiber Recycling
  11. Nylon and Nylon Fiber Recycling
  12. Other Synthetic Fiber Recycling
  13. Carpet Recycling
  14. Rags and Wipers
  15. Used and Recycled Bags
Textile Recycling Process
Textile Clothing and fabric generally consists of composites of cotton (biodegradable material) and synthetic plastics. The textiles composition will affect its durability and method of recycling.

All collected textiles are sorted and graded at a "Rag House" by highly skilled, experienced workers, who are able to recognize the large variety of fiber types resulting from the introduction of synthetics and blended fiber fabrics. Once sorted the items are sent to various destinations as outlined.

Fiber reclamation mills grade incoming material into type and color. The color sorting means no re-dying has to take place, saving energy and pollutants. The textiles are shredded into shoddy fibers and blended with other selected fibers, depending on the intended end use of the recycled yarn. The blended mixture is carded to clean and mix the fibers and spun ready for weaving or knitting. The fibers can also be compressed for mattress production. Textiles sent to the flocking industry are shredded to make filling material for car insulation, roofing felts, loudspeaker cones, panel linings and furniture padding.

For specialized polyester based materials the recycling process is significantly different. The first step is to remove the buttons and zippers then to cut the garments into small pieces. The shredded fabric is then granulated and formed into small pellets. The pellets are broken down polymerized and turned into polyester chips. The chips are melted and spun into new filament fiber used to make new polyester fabrics.

Some companies are creating new pieces of clothing from scraps of old clothes. By combining and making new additions, the eclectic garments are marketed as a type of style.
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Mazharul Islam Kiron is a textile consultant and researcher on online business promotion. He is working with one European textile machinery company as a country agent. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.

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