Textiles have a significant impact on the environment during their lifecycle. Large amount of water, energy, pesticides and fertilizers have made the global textile industry one of the most polluting and waste producing industries in the world. Recycling textile has become the newest addition to the materials that are recycled and redirected from the landfill.

tr2.jpgRecycling and reusing textiles, fibres and waste materials is an effective method to build sustainability in the apparel industry. A report by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that textiles are an important source of greenhouse gas emissions. In order to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions, efforts are made to increase textile recycling. In the current scenario, recycling clothing would have an effect equivalent to removing one million cars off the road every year.

In U.K. people consume 2 million tons of clothing from which, 0.5 million tons are recycled. However, 1 million ton is still disposed off. While in Europe, one can find a textile waste of around 14million tons out of which, a quarter of 5 million tons are recycled. Therefore, it has become imperative to develop innovative methods to recycle textiles and produce beneficial items out of recycled post-consumer materials.

Textiles thrown into the landfills have become a big global problem. Natural fibers take years to decompose, whereas man-made fibers do not decompose. Woolen clothes do decompose, but release methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This contributes towards global warming. Synthetic fabrics in the landfill release nitrous oxide which is a powerful greenhouse gas. Besides, toxic substances pollute groundwater and surrounding soil.

In U.S., the manufacturers recycle 75% of the pre-consumer textile waste, whereas only 15% of post-consumer textile waste is recycled. Therefore, consumers are believed to be the biggest culprits, responsible for the textile waste. It is shown that an average American discards around 70 pounds of clothing, shoes and other textile waste every year, which means in America 13 million tons of textile waste is generated every year.

In order to curb the growth of textile waste, textile recycling is the only option. Moreover, textile recycling offers many environmental benefits. It decreases the need for landfill space, keeping in mind the greenhouse gases released from the textiles dumped. In addition, the area surrounding the landfill poses risk to the groundwater. Every time it rains, the water absorbs all the chemicals and toxic materials from whatever is dumped in the landfill such as chemicals, dyes and bleaches used on textiles.