Cotton being the dominant fibre in denim and jeans must be recycled. As it is a greedy crop for water, for pesticides, for labour the most logical is to re-use and recycle.
Post consumer cotton products are the most obvious candidate for recycling and many brands and retailers are already employing systems for collecting consumers unwanted garments.
In denim manufacture we use garnetted cotton, post consumer waste which is shredded and re-spun back into fibre then re-dyed or not as desired and re-woven into broad denim. The garnetted fibre is naturally uneven in shade being from myriad garments, the fibre is also short staple and weaker than the original therefore only suitable for use in the weft of the fabric. If mixed with superior long staple cotton it can be used in the warp.
The images shown are from Mudd Jeans promoting their green credentials and demonstrating the process of recycling pre used indigo denim for their new generation of jeans.
REFIBRA is a recently launched fibre from Lenzing Austria. Lenzing is famously the home of Tencel, the magic fluid cellulosic fibre with a soft slippy sexy touch. Tencel cellulosic fibres are fully sustainable being from sustainably forested wood pulp. As well as enhancing the hand and drape of millions of women’s jeans Tencel has such a super hand that the mens denim market has also embraced its magic.
Now Lenzing have gone one giant step forward and combined post consumer cotton scraps with post industrial wood pulp and produced a new generation of Tencel Lyocell “green” fibre for tomorrow’s new denims.
Wood pulp plus cotton scraps are blended and spun into Refibra Tencel.
Lenzing are an eco responsible manufacturer of fibres Modal, Lyocell, Tencel and now Refibra all of which have a low carbon footprint. Tencel also has a greater strength than many other fibres used in the manufacture of everyday denim so to combine with elastane for a weft stretch reduces the growth rating. It also has a unique dye uptake resulting in richer more vibrant shades than can be achieved in cotton.
RECYCLING plastic bottles is a massive business today creating spun polyesters for fabrics from the humble water bottle.
Patagonia was one of the first brands to use recycled bottles to create their famous fleeces and hoodies. Now Levi use this “Repreve” polyester in the weft of many of their denims.
Polyester is a common household and garment textile fibre alongside the common water bottle. The combination of these two to achieve not only recycling but up-cycling is good news for our quest for greater sustainability. There is no need to randomly throw away your water bottles - recycle in a central source so that they can become your clothes of tomorrow..