Recycled cotton; closing the loop of cotton

When we hear recycled cotton, we see the recycling circle in our minds. You wear your garment, put it in the recycling bin, and new garments are made from it; post-consumer recycled cotton. But this is just one of the ways we can use recycled cotton. Pre-consumer recycled cotton is an essential step in closing the loop as well. During production, a considerable amount of fibres end up unused. These leftover fibres should and can be used in your new clothing!

What is pre-consumer recycled cotton?

Pre-consumer means the fibres are recycled before a garment has made its way to you, the consumer. They can come from all waste streams in the cotton supply chain. Think of leftover fibres from spinning and dyeing, defective or overstock fabrics and leftover scraps from cutting. When a supplier cuts the patterns of jeans out of large pieces of fabric, all the bits in-between are left over and often discarded. Recycling these scraps and fibres gives value to cotton fibres that would otherwise have been disposed of as waste.

How is the pre-consumer recycled cotton fabric made?

The first step in recycling is collecting leftover fibres from spinning, dyeing and weaving. If fabric scraps are collected, they must first be shredded down to cotton fibres. The fibres are then disentangled and aligned in a carding process. Combs make sure all fibres are facing the same way. The fibres can then be spun to create a new pre-consumer recycled yarn. Recycled fibres are shorter than virgin fibres and often need to be mixed with virgin fibres with a longer fibre length to keep a high-quality yarn

Why do we use recycled cotton fabric?

We have been using pre-consumer recycled cotton in our denim fabrics since 2012 to close the loop in garment production. With pre-consumer recycled cotton, you know what is inside your waste stream, as you are aware of the composition of the yarn and fabrics used. Whereas with post-consumer recycled cotton, you often do not know the exact fibre composition because you’ve got a bulk of different garments, all with their own compositions. Therefore, with pre-consumer recycling, it is often easier to produce high-quality yarns.

Using leftover fibres and scraps also increases material efficiency at production facilities. We don’t want anything to go to waste! Not only that, but recycling greatly reduces the water, energy and chemicals needed to produce virgin fibres. The lower the impact, the happier our earth.

"Pre-consumer recycled cotton is essential in closing the loop of the textile supply chain"

How do we guarantee the cotton we use is recycled?

All the recycled cotton we use is GRS (Global Recycled Standard), or RCS (Recycled Claim Standard) certified. These are standards that prove that recycled content is really recycled and if they are made from pre- or post-consumer waste. GRS also includes social and environmental management criteria and chemical limitations. Kuyichi is GRS certified as a company as well.

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