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Have you seen the movie “The Devil Wears Prada”? It encapsulates the fact that fashion is part of our lives. Even though many of us don’t consider ourselves overly fashionable, the fact that we want to look good in our clothes means that we’re not exempt from the fashion industry.

But here’s the thing: fashion changes a lot. For example, the baggy shirts and vibrant bangles that were once popular in the 80s are now obsolete in today’s fashion of tighter clothing, simpler looks, and more discrete accessories. In a few years’ time, today’s fashion will become obsolete as well.

People can always adapt to recent trends. Unfortunately, those unfashionable clothes, pants, shoes, and accessories often end up in the garbage. This may not seem much to an individual person. But with hundreds or thousands of people getting rid of derelict clothing, all these garments rapidly pollute the environment.

Advantages of Fashion Made of Recycled Materials

According to shocking recycling statistics, humans are generating more than 2 billion tons of garbage a year. The fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors to this waste problem. In a 2018 report by the Environmental Protection Agency, the fashion industry has produced over 9 billion tons of waste since the 1960s.

Worse, this number is expected to rise in the coming years considering that the average person purchases 60% more garments compared to 15 years ago. However, each piece of clothing is thrown away before it reaches half its lifetime.

Realizing the waste management problem brought about by the fashion industry, many textile and fashion companies are turning into “green” clothing. These are garments that are manufactured with environmental preservation and protection in mind. But it doesn’t end with manufacturing. All aspects of the clothing item—production, transportation, usage, recyclability, and others—are carefully thought out to integrate with the objective of saving the environment.

So what benefits does green clothing bring to the table? Let’s find out:

Conversion of plastic trash to something useful

Plastic bottles are among one of the most problematic waste items. They are non-biodegradable, clog waterways, waste landfill space, and create a health hazard for birds and marine life.

But with the application of science and modern technology, several fashion brands and textile manufacturers have started turning these plastic bottles into clothes and accessories. At its core, the process is simple: the bottles are first washed and cleaned of contaminants. Then they’re broken down into small flakes. The flakes are melted into tiny pellets and are melted again. The re-melted pellets are then filtered and spun into threads.

The threads can then be used to manufacture clothing such as swimwear, running socks, jackets, shoes, and more. Some clothing brands adopt recycling technologies as an in-house process while others purchase these recycled threads from other sources.

The bottle-to-thread technology is a double win. In the process of creating fashion items, we reduce plastic waste that goes to landfills.

Conservation of energy and resources

Creating brand-new plastic requires a lot of energy and materials. However, by using plastic that is already existent—such as discarded plastic bottles—only 33 to 53% of that energy is used. Furthermore, by using discarded bottles, there’s less need to harvest or extract resources needed to produce plastic.

In turn, the conservation of energy and resources contributes to less plastic pollution.

Productive and more innovative recycling centers

No matter how you look at them, recycling facilities are, at the end of the day, businesses. In order to thrive and grow, businesses need a viable market where they can sell their products.

If recycling centers adopt the bottle-to-thread technology and more brands introduce clothes made of recycled plastic in their catalog, then it will be quite profitable for recycling centers to produce such a material.

Sustainable production

Garments that are manufactured with the green clothing philosophy often use natural materials such as hemp and bamboo. As long as the farms and plantations are run properly, these materials are totally renewable and sustainable.

In addition, the process of manufacturing the garments using sustainable fabrics considerably lessens carbon emission, water usage, energy usage, and raw material harvesting.

The good thing is that competition in fashion is incredibly tough. As such, brands try to outdo each other when it comes to quality. For the end-user, this is great. There’s not a huge gap of difference regarding the quality, texture, or comfort level between clothes from recycled material and those that are made of standard textiles.

Good for the health

The production of brand-new textiles requires a lot of chemicals for cleaning, bleaching, strengthening, pest protection, and other processes. These chemicals often leave a residue that can cause skin discomforts such as allergies, constant itching, redness, and hives.

On the other hand, eco-friendly green clothing made of recycled materials is often free of these chemical residues. In addition, organic fabrics feel more comfortable on your skin than synthetic ones.

Ease of maintenance

Recycled textile materials are not just washed to remove impurities and contamination. They may also undergo a re-strengthening process, considering that the fibers are extracted from materials that are discarded.

As thus, green clothing made of recycled materials is often easier to maintain. They don’t require specialized washing and can sometimes last longer than their brand-new counterparts. Think about it: you enjoy a top-quality garment while reducing the garbage problem.

Affordability

Clothes made of recycled materials are often reasonably priced. Think of it as a semi-secondhand item. Thus, you can look cool, chic, fashionable, and trendy without actually breaking the bank. How cool is that?

Conclusion

Fashion trends come and go over time, but in being fashionable, we often neglect the environment that produces the materials needed for our clothes. But we can reverse the global waste problem—or at least slow it down to manageable levels. By advancing recycling technologies and using clothing made of recycled materials, we enjoy the biggest benefit of all—enjoying a continuing, sustainable bounty from Mother Nature.

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