How Old Clothes Can Become New Clothes | Textile Recycling ♻️

hi everyone welcome to my green closet so a textile recycling is a really important part of a sustainable fashion industry but unfortunately only about 15% of textile waste in the u.s. gets donated or recycled the rest goes to the landfill and even if it is sent for recycling not all textiles can be recycled and most are actually down cycled there are some really cool companies working with textile recycling and I'll show you what that process looks like but first let's talk about the difference between recycling synthetics and natural fibres the only materials that can be recycled back into their original form although not indefinitely are a hundred percent pure synthetics like polyester and nylon which are basically melted down and remade into fibers although it is important to note that a lot of recycled synthetics are not actually made from old clothes but they're made from things like recycled plastic bottles or recycled fishing nets are really popular for creating nylon part of the reason for this is that a lot of fabrics are blends so they're blended with spandex cotton or other materials or they might have treatments on them that don't easily allow for chemical recycling so these blended textiles and natural materials are typically mechanically recycled which does decrease the quality of the fiber and is why you usually only see about twenty to thirty percent recycled materials instead of a hundred percent although some awesome companies like mud jeans which is one of my favorites have been working to improve this recycling process and being able to incorporate more and more recycled materials without compromising quality I recently needed to replace my old pair of mud jeans and mud jeans has this really cool circular business model and lease program where they collect the old jeans for recycling to be made into new jeans I also have some behind-the-scenes footage of their recycling process so we can see exactly how that works so after the jeans are returned they go to Spain where first the buttons and zippers are removed then the jeans go through multiple shredders chopping them into finer and finer pieces until their fibers the fibers are then carted and turned into roving during this it will also be blended with virgin cotton then it's spun into threads the threads are dyed and woven into fabric which is of course then sewn into new jeans now even though recycling textiles isn't perfect and we can't yet have a hundred percent recycled cotton jeans for example it's still an incredible way to save resources and cut down on the unbelievable amount of textile waste that's going to the landfills so three things you can do to have a greener closet are first to make sure that all of your old clothes are being donated and if they can't be donated that they're going to textile recycling facilities next choose fabrics that are easier to recycle so 100% pure fibers are definitely the best for recycling but mud jeans for example can still recycle materials that have about 2% spandex and generally a little bit of spandex is still okay for mechanical recycling but things like cotton and polyester blends can be really difficult to recycle and sometimes can only be turned into things like cleaning rags so pure fibers are generally the best choice for recycling finally try to buy products made from recycled fibers this not only lowers the impact of the garment but it also supports brands who are recycling and often innovating and trying to improve textile recycling technology so I hope you enjoyed this video and I want to let you know that next week is fashion revolution week there are tons of events happening around the world and really amazing ways that you can take part and help spread awareness about conscious fashion I will have more information about it linked below and be sure to subscribe to my channel because I also have a special video coming out for fashion revolution week thank you for watching and thank you so much to those of you supporting me on patreon and I'll see you in the next one you


  1. This is amazing! Also love how well the entire process has been explained.
    How long does this take however?

  2. Thank you for this video! I really needed it for school but I find it very interesting to! Really well explained😍😄

  3. I want to donate some old jeans to Mud Jeans, but the shipping will be over $50. I live in the USA. I want to recycle my old clothes!

  4. I hate wasting things. I’m all about materials being reused again. It seems like it’s less costly to make recycled material versus raw materials.

  5. Wow! I had no idea were recycled like that. I'll definitely keep Mud Jeans in mind when I need a new pair!

  6. Amazing video! I just share it at my website Looking forward to get more information about sustainable fashion.

  7. Wow, thanks for the info. I never knew that. Unfortunately I don’t wear all nylon or polyester clothes. I mostly wear 100% cotton, rayon or silk and spandex. I do my own wash and living in the tropics where the sun shines practically 10 months out of the year, i take full advantage if it when doing laundry. I also wear most of my clothes until they’re practically fall apart literally. Even when i can no longer wear them, i usually use it for rags. I recycled my bras into masks to wear outdoors in the dusty and polluted city.

  8. Spotted Repack package as well! Which means you send back the jeans in a reusable package too! Love it!

  9. Hi Verena, thank you for the useful videos! Do you have any thoughts on recycling of shoes and bags? Maybe an idea for another video? 🙂

  10. Super informative! I loved seeing the behind the scenes! I have a question…what should we do with old underwear? Is there a way to sustainably dispose of them? I've been cutting up old t-shirts to use as rags, but undies are such small, thin pieces of fabric that it's not practical to use them as rags.

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