Cotton is among the most popular fibers in the world today. A major part of cotton production is used for clothing. The biggest organic cotton farms are located in India, China, and Turkey. They supply to major clothing manufacturers around the world. Organic cotton is expensive because it is cultivated naturally with no added chemicals, pesticides, and bad water. That is why several companies came in front to introduce ways to recycle cotton. They encourage people to give away their old clothes for recycling to make new clothes and products like bags. Only 1% of the total fabric waste ends up getting recycled. The rest, 99%, ends up in landfills.
Recycling cotton can help the fashion industry use fewer chemicals and cut down on water and pesticide usage, keeping the environment cleaner and recyclable. However, recycling cotton can be a pretty expensive and difficult process. The clothes that are meant to get recycled need to be first turned back to raw materials. The chopping of clothes can take a long time and will only produce a lower quality of cotton. It shortens the length and strength of the fiber after getting chopped and loses its original quality.
Good quality cotton is known for its long staple length. Supima is one of the top quality cotton, which is highly valued in the fashion industry. Despite being pretty expensive, Supima cotton is still more affordable than recycled cotton, considering the quality that it provides to the fashion industry.
One of the largest global fashion brands, Levi’s, launched a campaign to create recyclable clothing. Despite encouraging the recycling of clothes, Levi’s could only use 20% of the recycled cotton to maintain the quality of their product. The company could only mix the recycled fiber with the long-staple fiber of original cotton to create their recyclable clothing range. It was an expensive attempt that introduced recycling of clothes on the mass media. Despite their efforts, it was still not one of the best solutions for the efficient recycling of clothes. The industry is still looking for a large scale solution that could really help turn the wheels to make quality products.