The recycling of fabrics and scraps is one of the many ways we can promote sustainability in the apparel and textile industry.
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In the past however, time, cost and technology have not been on our side. With the growing importance of sustainability not only in our industry, but in the world, companies are working to remedy this issue. T4T (Textiles for Textiles) is an EU-funded and partnered project with the KICI Foundation; a Dutch non-commercial organization that collects post-consumer textiles. This collaboration was established to create the T4T textiles sorting project working to improve and more efficiently recycle post-consumer textiles. Here in the US a Sustainable Apparel Coalition has been launched "aiming to put a spotlight on promising technological innovations, and develop effective uses for textile waste." Sustainability is a global issue though and it is reassuring to know other countries are being proactive in this effort as well.
Many sorting companies today only bother with “good quality fabrics.” The issue with this is that textile waste is growing larger. So what is T4T going to do differently? The machinery being developed has the ability to sort materials based on various components including: fiber composition, color, and chemical composition, all in a matter of seconds. The device segments the materials into piles based on the stated factors, encouraging what would normally be considered waste, to be used as raw material.
While this T4T machinery certainly has the capability to promote sustainability and the recycling of fabrics, it is important to note that other proactive approaches do exist. “It is much harder to develop equipment to recycle textiles, rather than make them more eco-friendly to begin with.”
This concept is one that we at Oliveira Textiles uphold. Hemp, our favorite fiber is not only very resistant to degradation from mold, bacteria, salt water, sunlight, abrasion, and chemicals, but also fully biodegradable. We work to promote and produce sustainable, organic fabrics that are free of harsh chemicals like phthalates and formaldehyde, to not only make recycling in this industry safer and more sustainable, but to make our everyday lives sustainable as well!