It continues to be at the forefront of sustainability, product range, brand initiatives, and long-term planning in the textile industry. The use of recycled materials, including recycled cotton (Re-cycle cotton), is a growing concern within sustainability textiles. Recycled cotton is not a new concept in the textile and apparel market, but interest in recycled cotton has increased as manufacturers, brands and retailers continue to evaluate their supply chain footprint.

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What is Recycled Cotton?

Recycled cotton can generally be defined as the conversion of cotton fabric into cotton fiber that can be reused in textile products. Recycled cotton is also commonly referred to as regenerated cotton, recycled cotton or poor quality cotton. Recycled content includes used, reconditioned and remanufactured components as well as recycled raw materials. Textile recycling is produced from two main sources:

  1. Pre-consumer: contains residues generated by yarn and fabric by-products
  2. Post-consumption: clothing to be re-worn, upholstery, towels, household items, etc.

The greatest amount of recycled cotton resources are generated through pre-consumer waste such as fabric waste. Post-consumer waste is more difficult to sort out due to the various shades, fabric blends and is generally a more labor-intensive process.

Recycling Process of Fabric to Fiber

The majority of recycled cotton occurs through mechanical recycling. First, fabrics and materials are sorted by color. After separation, the fabrics are passed through a machine that shreds into yarn as well as raw fiber. This process is tough and puts a large load on the fiber. The raw fiber is then spun into threads for reuse in other products. Recycled fiber quality will never have quality values ​​equal to original fibers. In particular, fiber length and length uniformity will be affected, which will limit the end-use application.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Recycled Cotton


  • Recycled cotton, soaking, mop heads, rags and stuffing can be recycled in many different low grade products.
  • The recycling process can take many products away from landfills. According to the European Textile Recycling Council, annual textile waste is estimated to be equal to 25 billion TL.
  • The amount of energy, water and paint usage is reduced from the use of a previously processed product. Savings are achieved by balancing the production of new raw materials. Since recycled cotton threads are mostly obtained from pre-consumer textile scraps sorted by color, the threads have already been dyed.
  • CO 2 and fossil fuel emission savings are not available. However, cotton scraps or their collection, processing and transportation can reduce or neutralize some of these savings.


  • Cotton must be blended into new yarn for strength and durability and cannot be recycled in return.
  • Recycled cotton content will depend on end-use. The converted product will reveal such as yarn and evenness, strength, and homogeneity.
  • Costs can be higher and larger than recycled cost costs.
  • Test instruments are made for ginned, pure cotton. Sometimes test results that differ from the difference in fiber packaging and orientation may be skewed.
  • Much higher than other fibers for converted cotton. Sewing, sewing thread, less back spandex should be purchased when setting up the recycled supply chain.

The Importance of Recycling in Textile

Recycled cotton has room for certain sons, but concerns about strength and quality reduction can cause problems during production and after the consumer takes the product home. Once recycled, the fiber separation process that weakens the fibers will not be recycled – recycled materials are endlessly irreversible.

After all, it is an option to find with pure cotton, cotton is a natural and biodegradable fiber, and companies should be encouraged to tell the story of finding with pure cotton rather than creating low-quality clothing from recycled cotton.