Textile recycling

With more fast fashion brands competing for sales, the fashion industry faces a huge problem: Textile waste. To combat this issue many brands have committed to textile recycling initiatives

But is it enough to solve the problem? 

Why Is Textile Recycling So Complicated?

As much as we love to stay on top of all the trends, our habit of quickly tossing out the old and embracing the new does have consequences.

Over 97% of all our clothing ends up in landfills. Worse yet, 60% of clothes in landfills end up there less than 12 months after its manufacturing date. 

And before anyone mentions donating clothing to thrift stores… 

The second-hand market sends 80% of donations to landfills because they’re incredibly overwhelmed. 


Considering that less than one percent of textiles are recycled into new clothing…

Many brands and startups have been looking for new ways to incorporate textile recycling into their practices.  

So how are they planning on tackling the issue?

How Are Brands Combating Waste In Fashion?

Many fashion companies are partnering with textile recycling startups…

To source new, sustainable materials for their clothing. 

Levis is leading the charge into sustainable fashion. The iconic denim makers partnered with Renewcell

 The world’s first commercial-scale textile-to-textile chemical recycling pulp mill. 


Now, Levi’s classic 501 jeans are made up of 60% organic cotton and 40% recycled fibers from Renewcell. 

What makes textile recycling so complicated is that many of the materials used are a mix of fibers, both recyclable and not. 

The resulting fibers are incredibly difficult to separate from one another…

Making recycling nearly impossible. 

So when creating jeans that are made to be recycled over and over, everything from the stitching…

The back patch…

And interior labeling needs to cooperate. 


Adidas is another brand taking strides in creating sustainable products. 

The shoemakers are currently on track to use 100% recycled polyester in their shoes. Right now they’ve met 96% of that goal. Beyond their material uses, they’ve vowed to reduce their water uses and go carbon neutral by 2025.

Clearly, results are tangible when companies commit to textile recycling. 

Lastly, (and most confusingly) Zara has also begun work on their textile recycling initiative. They’ve stated that by 2025, all of their products will be made of 100% recycled materials. 

While Zara has stated they’re making efforts towards sustainability… 

The brand is also known for being one of the biggest fast fashion polluters and for its greenwashing practices. So who’s to say whether we can trust their integrity this time…

The Future Of Textile Recycling

What once seemed like a huge problem, might be something that through responsibility and commitment can be worked through…

Rather than remaining ignored. 

It seems that the more that larger brands and startups focus on the issue of textile recycling, the more others start to pay attention as well. 

While there’s still a long way to go when it comes to sustainability in fashion

It seems like most of these brands (looking at you Zara) are moving in the right direction.

Be Great,

GCTV Staff

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