Fashion Updates | Sustainability

Why Sustainability is the Smart Option? Know what Lies Ahead for Clothing Recycling.

Published: June 6, 2023
Author: Fashion Value Chain

The clothing recycling market is anticipated to be valued at US$ 5.8 Mn in 2022. Given the rising awareness about the circular movement, the demand for clothing recycling is likely to advance at a CAGR of 10.7% through 2032. Overall, the adoption quotient of clothing recycling remains high with a forecasted valuation of US$ 16 Bn by 2032.

Among the prominent trends of textile recycling, sustainability remains the top of the chart. As sustainability is the buzzword for the era, owing to the severe environmental changes, campaigns to patch the carbon footprint in whatever way possible is advocating the adoption of textile recycling.

Amidst the popular circular movements going on for furniture recycling, shoe recycling, clothing waste is turning into a top concern. As a result, focus on shirt recycling and t-shirt recycling is anticipated to rise during the forecast period.

In the developed economies such as the U.S., the U.K., and Europe, there are designated recycle clothing bins for fabric recycling. As a result, it becomes easier for populace to donate their unused clothes and serve greater purpose for the sustainability of the planet.

On the other hand, new fashion designers are in quest of cheap materials to prove their mettle. Hence, getting the materials for a cheaper or no cost at all gives them with the leeway to invest in the processing and repurposing of reused old clothing, fibrous waste, and scraps. As opposed to the common notion of fashion industry being the sole consumer of clothing recycling, there are numerous other segments promising opportunities for clothing recycling players.

Demand for clothing recycling is likely to stay strong from automotive, home décor, construction, mining, and apparel industry during the forecast period.

Historical Performance vs Future Prospects for Clothing Recycling Market

The saga of adoption of the concept-textile recycling-has only increased and improved steadily since 2017. Campaigns advocating behaviour check when it comes to using natural resources such as cotton and wool remain the consistent drivers, creating the buzz about fabric recycling. However, with the passing time as end-use industries are evolving and showing an acute proclivity towards environment conservation in parallel to containing their overhead costs, demand for recycled clothes has gathered strength.

With regulations and global agendas lining up to administer the use of natural resources, opportunities in the clothing recycling market has improved for the better for the manufacturers and distributors. Overall, there has been an approximate improvement of 4% in the CAGR growth rate from 6.6% during 2017-2021 to 10.7% during 2022-2032.

Top 7 Trends Influencing the Clothing Recycling Market

Below are the key trends widely witnessed in the clothing recycling market:

·       Textile-to-Textile Recycling:

The inclination towards living a conscious life has been promoting the concept to textile-to-textile recycling. Though the fashion industry is largely influenced by the linear business model, circularity in textiles is gaining traction. Hence, used clothes are being the new raw materials for the textile industry.

Manufacturers are using recycled textile to holistically address the end-of-life concerns of textiles.

·       Recycled Fibres:

Manufacturers are not only sourcing the raw materials used for the development of textiles from the used fabrics but also are looking beyond the used clothing. Materials such as fruit pulp, wood, and wool are recycled to repurpose them into textiles for multiple end-use industries.

In order to reduce the use of plastic from the circular movement, natural and organic raw materials remain most-sought after for their development into textiles. The fruit pulp and wood are increasingly becoming popular as the replacement of cotton.

·       High Application in Healthcare:

Numerous companies operating in the healthcare textiles are posing low environmental risk by resorting to sustainable fabrics. Among the other key trends influencing the clothing recycling market, the investment towards the development of sustainable textile is rising, especially in the healthcare industry.

As a result, textile used for medicinal purposes are being produced through the recycled materials in a way that they cause less carbon dioxide emission along with the other greenhouse gases.

·       Waste to Best:

The technological advancements have been so forward that waste materials from several industries can be turned into textiles. One such example is the use of waste PET water bottles for the production of textile. These textiles are then used for the designing of t-shirts. Such processes of producing textiles, in turn, require less litres of water and also leaves behind relatively lesser carbon footprints.

·       Rags to Riches:

As per the experiments and research and development activities carried out by market players, nearly 50% of the textile can be upcycled for new textile development. The leftover scraps of clothes and rags can also be used to create new fabrics.

The surplus fabric sourced from various scrap heaps are sold to designers, who repurpose these to develop new fabric, thereby eliminating the dependence on the new natural reserves of cotton and wood.

·       Rags to Biodegradable Materials:

With deadstock assuming the centre stage for the textile industry, manufacturers are looking at the scraps to turn them into biodegradable materials with technological intervention. This also serves as an opportunity to combat the adverse effects of ‘fast fashion’.

The live organisms are used for catalysing the production of biodegradable textiles in an environmental-friendly manner in laboratory.

·       Dissolving Pulps to Regenerative Fibres:

There has been a rising consumption of regenerative cellulose, particularly viscose fibre, which has generated a high demand for dissolving pulps. The raw materials are treated with enzymes and the purification process takes place for the development of dissolving pulp. These are anticipated to remain a key trend for in the clothing recycling market.

The rising demand for conscious use of renewable natural resources is likely to attribute dissolving pulps as a strong contenders against cotton.

Segment-wise Analysis

Recycled Polyester is the Most Popular Clothing Type

Among the other recycled types, recycled polyester is likely to remain the key contributor to the revenue in the recycled clothing market. Given the unique properties of polyester-resistance to stretching, chemical resistance, and durability-it remains the top choice for textile manufacturers.

Besides polyester, nylon is likely to remain the fastest-growing segment in the clothing recycling market during the forecast period. Demand for recycled nylon is anticipated to be sustained owing to its characteristics such as high strength, high elasticity, resistance to wrinkles, and high moisture retention capabilities. The demand for recycled nylon has also been increasing on account of its less consumption of energy and low CO2 emission.

Retail to Retain its Reliance on Recycled Clothing

Customized low-cost apparels are the key drivers for the demand of clothing recycling in the retail industry. The industry relies on the value-added benefits obtained from upcycling as a key resort to combat with the grappling effect of discontinuous supply of raw materials. As a result, the retail sector is likely to remain a key contributor to the clothing recycling market during the forecast period.

In addition to this, an acute rise in the demand for low-cost textile for enriching the aesthetics arising from the automotive industry is also predicted to remain a significant revenue channel for clothing recycling market through 2032.

Region-wise Analysis

Europe’s Dominance in the Clothing Recycling Industry is Sustainable

In 2022, the Europe clothing recycling market is likely to hold a share of 26%, the largest at the global level. Several campaigns pertaining to waste incineration and depletion of raw resources are likely to safeguard the integrity of the clothing recycling market in Europe during the forecast period.

For the consumers being ‘woke’ in the Europe, the government and central authorities have a key role to play. Besides the advocacy for circular movement, the European Commission has initiated Textile for Textile. It has led to the development of near-infrared spectroscopy technology in order for it to be used for automated sorting of recycled textiles.

North America to Follow the Lead of European Recycled Textile Market

With a lag of just 2%, the clothing recycling market of the North America stands at the second position with a share of 24% in the global market in 2022. Presence of numerous companies in the region and their creative campaigns to promote the donation of used clothes is likely to be an instrument for the relentless supply of raw materials to the textile industry.

Numerous technological upgradation with the growing penetration of automation for the repurposing of used clothes is likely to facilitate the ease of production. In addition to this, as industrialization and urbanization happens, the farming land gets reduced and depletion of natural resources such as wood and cotton. As a result, the shift towards recycled clothing is not only a want but a need for the textile manufacturers.

India and China to Remain Key Countries in the Asia Pacific Recycled Textile Market

The Indian clothing recycling market is likely to secure a CAGR of 15.2% through 2032, while that in China is anticipated to grow at 13.6% during the forecast period. China’s healthy CAGR can be attributed to its well set-up manufacturing hub, which facilitates convenient and efficient repurposing of textiles. In addition to this, China is also the largest supplier of raw textile materials for their application in various end-use industries.

In India, numerous start-ups are emerging and exhibiting excellent capabilities to recycle textiles using different modes, which is likely to bring about new growth haven for the global clothing recycling market during the forecast period.

Competitive Landscape

Start Up Scenario in the Clothing Recycling Market

Mini Cycle and Air Robe Upcycling their Way to Innovate

The start-up heat map is focused on the innovative capabilities of top exemplary businesses scaling up in the clothing recycling market. One of the key start-up player, Mini-Cycle, recovers the used as well as discarded clothes for their reuse. The company promotes the apparel usage through post-consumer apparel trading.

The company has a post-sale policy, which enables parents to trade a pay out with used clothes within a time span of two years. When the used clothes are obtained, the startup upcycles these clothes and then puts it in the inventory for other parents to pick them up.

Another start-up, Air Robe, is creating virtual circular wardrobes that can mimic the inventory of a real wardrobe. This wardrobe allows buyers to track their purchases and then later on resell these on the online platforms. The virtual wardrobe solution of the start-up helps consumers declutter their wardrobes while having a key eye on the environment.

Another key new entrant from India, Ecohike, have invested in the R&D facility for turning trashed PET water bottles into T-shirts. The founders claim that they require only 12 PET water bottles for making one T-shirt. This process, in turn, reduces nearly 250 grams of landfill waste.

Top 3 Companies Defining the Clothing Recycling Market

·       Blue Jeans Go Green:

The company aims at the collection of denim from across the United States. Instead of channelizing these denims to landfills, Blue Jeans Go Green has partnered with Bonded Logic, Inc. for recycling these to UltraTouch Denim Insulation.

·       Circulose:

The company has developed a process, which helps in the creation of circular cellulose through a mechanical recycling procedure. The process enables the transformation of used and discarded garments to huge sheets of circulose. The circular cellulose is then used for the development of natural textile fibers.

·       Circ:

The company operating in the clothing recycling market has a technological facility that helps clothes to return to their original state of raw material. It can recycle poly-cotton blends or polyester into their raw materials of virgin-grade polyester. It can be turned into lyocell type fabrics and viscose.

Related Posts

Fabrica X’s New Campaign Concept “Denim Futures” Puts Spotlight on the Future of Sustainable Denim

India Today Group’s Anchor ‘AI Sana’ Wins Her First Set of Accolades

Biohacking Boom in India: Balancing Ancient Wisdom with Modern Innovations for Longevity and Health