Today, recycling is ubiquitous. Whether its plastics, metals, or glass products the world is better off as a result of these actions done by the citizens of nations. It does beg the question however: why don’t we recycle everything we get our hands on? Why can’t we recycle dresses or collared shirts as easily as we do water bottles? Such is the question posed in the New York Times Article Sustainable Innovation: Reducing Fashion’s Carbon Footprint? The article makes claims as to how textiles are becoming disposable, and currently are Britain’s “fastest growing waste stream.”
Recycling textiles can tremendously impact on the carbon footprint of the industry. The advocacy group the Bureau of International Recycling states that recycling old textiles would aid in cutting up to almost 8 pounds in carbon dioxide emissions. Besides the incredible waste of resources (including water, fertilizers, and pesticides which are all used to cultivate the plants used in clothing), disposable clothing has contributed to global warming through the release of greenhouse gases.
Now what is being done to reverse this trend? In 2009 textile4textile was created to abate the process of disposable clothing. The process they utilize is called “sorting” which shreds the recycled clothing and allows the fabric to be in a state where it can be sewn again into new clothing. As stated in the article, “Once fabrics are separated into like tissue, they are much more valuable, especially natural fibers like wool and cotton. Recycled fabric can be spun from the shreds of the used clothing.” As a result, more resources are saved and the planet is left smiling just a bit.
Ultimately, as a society recycling is taken for granted because it is so commonplace. Making other goods such as fabrics to be a commonplace recycled good is a goal worth striving for and certainly can be attainable as plastics and metals are today. To my knowledge I have never worn recycled clothing. However, now that the option is available, more consumers , like myself, will be educated as to the carbon footprint of an industry that they didn’t know had one, and will be able to make smart and conscious decisions as to what they wear. Hopefully we will one day reach the apex of sustainability where everything we use was previously recycled and inhabit a world where we all live green, and be green.