Can Textiles be Recycled?

Can Textiles be Recycled?
October 28, 2019 Paul

Can Textiles be Recycled?

Can Textiles Be Recycled? - Venubi Marketplace

Can textiles be recycled?

Not long ago our team began to ask, can textiles be recycled? Sure enough, that curiosity leads us to research. And, as a result, we’ve put together some information we think you may be interested in.

So, the question still stands, “can textiles be recycled?”

In short, yes. Yes, textiles can be recycled. However, we need to understand the current problem the industry faces so that we can build greater awareness.


Some Info on “Can Textiles be Recycled”

The textile industry is the second most polluting industry behind the oil industry. For instance, it is estimated that textiles make up 5% of all landfills. 

The United States alone produces 80 billion pieces of clothing each year. Which means US consumers are individually producing about 70lbs of textile waste a year.

Moreover, only 15% of the 80 billion pieces are properly recycled, which is a low amount considering how much is produced. 

Well then, what does all of this mean for you and your business?

In essence, as landfills and pollution keep accumulating, there is a need to recycle textiles properly. 

Even more, we need to constantly recycle textiles to decrease our environmental impact.


Can textiles be recycled by consumers?

The short answer is, yes. The waste production will continue to grow unless consumers make a change in both their buying habits and their recycling habits.

The first step in reducing textile waste and recycling textiles is being conscious of two factors:

    • Purchase frequency – how often you are buying textiles
    • Time to discard – how long you are using those textiles before they are discarded and recycled. 

Also, purchasing used or second-hand textiles prevent consumers from creating new waste. In effect, it can keep the textiles out of the landfill for longer. 


How does fast fashion effect textile recycling?

Fast fashions are clothing lines with extremely fast production rates and a very small lifecycle. In addition to speed, fast fashion is mostly inexpensive for consumers to buy or replace.

And, because of those factors, fast fashion is leading to an absurd amount of waste in our landfills and causing consumers to excessively buy.

Since the materials used in fast fashion are mostly synthetic fibers, consumers should read clothing labels to learn which is the best route of recycling. 

However, the problem has less to do with the materials and more to do with the culture surrounding fast fashion. The textile industry needs to shift to a culture of buying items that you love rather than buying for cheap and tossing soon after.


Recycling Textiles

Recycling can mean different things for various textiles. Frankly speaking, it all depends on the materials used within the final product. 

Essentially, recycling intends for materials to be used for different purposes and different jobs. Ultimately, recycling means that the textile will be out of the waste stream for a longer period. 

An example of a great textile recycling program to work with is GrowNYC

This company takes pieces of fabric that are 36 inches and larger and turns them into clothing, rags, or extremely small pieces for insulation.

GrowNYC is a great resource because of its adaptability to various types of textiles. Even when working with unfamiliar materials that need to be processed, they’ll be able to help. 

Another great recycling program that reuses textiles is the Blue Jeans Go Green initiative

This program recycles used denim into insulation and donates a small percentage of its business to low-income communities. 

Also, you should know that many large corporations and big brands have recycling programs. Typically, the fabrics and textiles are reused in other clothing or used for a different use instead of just going straight to a landfill or a recycling center. 

Some examples of these companies are H&M, Nike, and Patagonia. 

All very successful companies and part of their success is due to their willingness to give back to the community and reduce their environmental impact.

FREE Buyer's Membership
When you join our community, today.


Reselling is where Venubi will be an asset for both buyers and vendors.


What is Upcycling?

Upcycling is another form of recycling that gives textiles a new life and new purpose instead of immediately disposing them. 

An example of this would be something as easy as using old fabric as dish rags. 

We often think that it takes grand plans and a great amount of effort to recycle. But, it only takes a creative mind to discover new ways to use textile products.


What is Reselling?

Reselling is one of the more effective forms of recycling. It keeps the textile products out of the stream of waste and instead into new hands that provide it with a new lifecycle. 

This form of recycling is beneficial for both the buyer and seller. For example, the seller makes money off of a textile that they have gotten their use out of. And, the buyer can purchase that textile in a usable condition for a discounted price. 

Besides, many in-person opportunities exist for reselling. Opportunities such as thrift stores and consignment stores are prime examples that accept a wide range of textiles. Then, resell them for an extremely reasonable price. 

Therefore, reselling is popular because of the following:

    • Process efficiency
    • Quick return on investment

All-in-all, reselling will continue to be an asset to the textile industry for many years to come. Why? Because it provides a gain for both the buyer and the seller.

Reselling is where Venubi will be an asset for both buyers and vendors.

Venubi provides a platform that allows vendors to search for consumers that need second-hand textiles. Additionally, buyers that are looking for used textiles at a lower cost or new textiles can search for all in one marketplace. 

This online platform connects buyers and sellers and increases the likelihood that you will find the item you are looking for at a very discounted price.


What is textile waste? 

Textile waste is deemed a material that is not usable for its original purpose.

Moreover, textile waste can be produced both during the consumer process of discarding the textile and the manufacturing of the textile.

In fact, many textiles that are incorrectly made or misprinted are considered to be garbage. Many times these items are not eligible for sale or to be a part of whatever textile they were making up. 

So, if a company doesn’t buy the tarnished items quickly, to the landfill they go.

Textile waste does not only refer to clothing it can also refer to industrial waste such as carpets, napkins, and other household apparel. 

If we can reduce our textile waste individually and be conscious of how much waste we are producing, then the textile waste impact will be significantly lower.


Paul Mojica


Leave a reply