Can Cotton Clothes Be Recycled?

Cotton is found in both reusable and single-use goods in our homes. It is extensively used in garments and towels, cotton balls, cotton swabs, and even certain coffee filters. You're bound to go through many single-use cotton goods, but cotton dresses and other fabrics don't endure indefinitely.

When a cotton product has served its purpose, you may question if it can be recycled alongside your other recyclables. Cotton is sometimes recyclable, but not through your curbside recycling programme. However, certain cotton items are not recyclable at all.

So, what factors influence whether you can recycle cotton and how? Continue reading this to go into further details.

Is Cotton Recyclable?

 Technically, all types of cotton could be recycled. However, recycling some cotton clothes is difficult or impossible. Recycled cotton is increasingly being utilized to manufacture textiles since there is a rising interest in creating and consuming sustainable apparel and other items.

Cotton that has been recycled from raw materials, as well as cotton textiles that have been remanufactured into new items, are examples of recycled cotton used for textiles. However, this does not imply that everybody can recycle their cotton textiles, nor that you can simply dump cotton garments and towels into the recycling bin.

Cotton may be recycled from two different sources: pre-consumer and post-consumer.


1. Cotton From the Pre-Consumer Market

Scraps of cotton fabric left over from the production of textiles are included in pre-consumer cotton. Because it is easy to recycle, this is the most recycled form of cotton.

 Textile producers can pre-sort their scraps depending on the look and texture of the fabric, reducing the amount of processing required by recycling facilities.

2. Cotton from Post-Consumer Waste

Post-consumer cotton refers to textiles created from cotton fabric purchased by customers, such as garments, towels, and other home products.

It is technically recyclable but rarely recycled because it cannot be accepted through curbside recycling, and most municipal facilities do not recycle cotton textiles. Sorting and processing all the different cotton fabrics consumers send in would be far too time-consuming and labour-intensive.

Which Cotton Products Can Not Be Recycled?

Cotton products such as cotton dresses for women, cotton balls, swabs, and rounds are typically not recyclable as the fibres are frequently small and cannot withstand recycling. For example, In the case of cotton swabs, they may contain materials like plastic that cannot be separated from the cotton.

However, as long as they do not contain plastic, most single-use cotton products are biodegradable and compostable. Even if you can't recycle them, you can still dispose of them in an environmentally friendly manner.

Wrapping Up

Cotton recycling is typically reserved for textile manufacturers with a large amount of scrap to get rid of and the resources to do so. However, just because cotton cannot be recycled does not mean it must be discarded. You can repurpose it or donate it so that it can be used by someone else.

You can also consider supporting businesses like Tjori that use recycled cotton products to increase consumer interest. Visit us online for the latest collection of cotton dresses.

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