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What is recycling in textile?

Recycling of textile waste is all processes applied for the reuse of old clothes, scrap fabrics and other textile products or the recovery of their raw materials. Textile recycling companies basically support the scope of production with some processes. These processes are basic recycling processes. The steps involved in the recycling process of fabric and other textile products can be addressed as follows:

  • Collection
  • Separation (Color and Structure Classification)
  • Processing
  • Sales

The textile recycling industry contributes to both nature and economy by recycling textile wastes. Recent research shows that this sector is growing very quickly. Textiles, which is included in clothing products, furniture, bedding, curtains, cleaning products, entertainment equipment and many other products, has become an industry of approximately 1 trillion dollars. Parallel to this great development, some developed countries import thousands of tons of textile waste.

Everyone needs to acknowledge the importance and benefits of recycling textiles. These green recycling ideas are becoming more common day by day. In textile production all over the world, more than 50 billion garments are produced on average every year. It is not difficult to estimate the enormity of the costs involved in producing these garments. For this reason, it would be a wiser choice to include them in low-cost recycling processes, even if the effort is completely lost. Let alone the economic damage of non-recycled textiles, even the damage it causes to the environment is motivating.

Fabric Recycling Industry

Almost half of all fabric fiber in the world is obtained from plants, animals and insects. This means that more than half of it consists of non-natural, synthetic (artificial) fibers.

While synthetic fabric types participate in recycling processes, they leave more harmful waste to the environment than natural fabric types. No steps have yet been taken to prevent these toxic chemicals, which could potentially endanger the lives of sea creatures. Recycling processes that will help reduce the damage are tried to be expanded with only small government incentives. Textiles made from synthetic, petroleum-based polymer-containing fabrics are among the main causes of environmental pollution, especially in countries such as China and India.

In our country, waste fabrics are given names such as “fire fabric”, “scrap fabric”, “scrap fabric”. The most well-known jargon in the textile industry is “fire fabric”. Those who collect, buy and sell fire fabric are called “fireci”. The delivery of small pieces of fabrics that emerge around the main production patterns in the garment workshops and textile slaughterhouses to the recycling factories so that they can participate in the recycling processes is coordinated by these people. Fabric recycling factories classify waste fabrics and turn them into fibers again, thanks to the machines in their structure. Some waste (waste) fabric recycling factories do not only turn it into fiber, but also produce “regenerated yarn” with other production mechanisms.

Regenerated yarns are almost as good as normal yarns. Fabrics woven with regenerated yarns are also called “regenerated fabrics”.

Regenerated fabric types stand out with their cheaper prices than original production fabric types. Thanks to the textile recycling technology machines that have been developing rapidly recently, regenerated fabrics have succeeded in capturing over 75% of the original quality scale. Although regenerated fabrics are popular in the domestic fabric market, they are still not able to fully meet quality standards on an export basis.

How are the Prices of Fire (Scrap) Fabric Determined?

While those who buy and sell fire fabric determine the prices, technically they take the yarn prices as an index. With the increase in yarn prices, scrap fabric prices also increase. The fabric color that can be recycled most easily, that is, converted into fiber at the cheapest cost, is the color “white”. Especially white color, lycra-free (without spandex), cotton combed (knitted) group fabrics are the simplest type of recycled waste fabric. Waste fabrics containing lycra (containing elastane, spandex), polyester, and synthetic chemicals such as polyamide can be recycled at a higher cost of 60%-70%. For this reason, fabrics produced from natural and organic fibers such as white and black colors (no need to use paint removers), cotton and linen have a higher price than synthetic fabric waste. Currently, the types of scrap fabrics that do not contain white color polyester are much more expensive than the kilo price of scrap iron.

What are the Environmental Benefits of Waste Fabric Recycling?

Recycling other waste textiles, especially fabrics, benefits the nature as follows:

  • Synthetic and natural fibers emit greenhouse gases after a certain period of time in nature. With recycling processes, this situation can be reduced, if not eliminated.
  • Costs such as energy, labor and water usage are saved.
  • Helps reduce environmental pollution.
  • Provides extra employment.
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