09 Mar Up-Cycled Cotton - A New Lease Of Life
By Ella Chisholm
Cotton is the world’s largest non-food crop which is grown for trade by more than 80 countries. However the production of cotton is concentrated in just six countries: China, India, Australia, Brazil, the US and Pakistan.
As a lot of people are aware of, conventional cotton production has huge environmental and social implications; from workers’ rights to the widespread use of toxic pesticides. WWF has called the current cotton production methods 'environmentally unsustainable’.
Here are some of the impacts broken down...
Despite the fact that cotton undeniably brings economic benefit to low-income countries, it also brings serious environmental and social problems.
57% of cotton is produced in areas where there is already extreme water stress and only 30% of cotton produced comes from rain-fed farming. This means huge amounts of water is diverted in order to sustain these cotton farms.
Conventional cotton production uses a large number of chemicals. In fact, 4% of all world pesticides and 10% of insecticides are used in cotton growing which pollute ecosystems and drinking water.
We must also not ignore the links that the cotton industry has to the slave trade and child and forced labour in cotton cultivation.
However, awareness is growing and encouraging a shift towards more sustainable ways of producing cotton which has the potential to reduce water and energy consumption, as well as reduce landfill waste and chemical usage.
There are initiatives for growing cotton using sustainable and ethical principles such as fair-trade and organic cotton.
Organic Cotton is also no doubt one of the best alternatives to regular cotton and is a lot kinder to the environment too. Most importantly, it does not use GMOS or toxic chemicals.
Organic cotton is also 80% rain-fed which puts less pressure on local water sources making it a more sustainable option than regular cotton.
With so much cotton going to waste each year, what better way to feel good about the clothes you wear and the items you use, than to know that they have been made sustainably and ethically.
Recycled cotton is fast becoming one of the most growing topics of interest within sustainability and we love that here at Wearth. You can find a range of items made from recycled materials, including cotton here.
What Is Recycled Cotton?
Recycled cotton is an eco-friendly alternative to regular cotton and is made by converting existing cotton fabric into cotton fibre so that it can be reused in textile products. It is also known as regenerated cotton or reclaimed cotton.
Textile recycling is generated from pre-consumer fabrics such as by-yarn scraps and post-consumer sources such as upholstery, towels and household items.
Most recycled cotton sources are produced though pre-consumer waste (like scraps of materials).
Post-consumer waste is harder to organise and sort because of colour shades and fabric blends.
Benefits Of Recycled Cotton
There are many benefits of choosing to buy clothes and items made from recycled cotton.
Firstly, using recycled cotton diverts products and scraps from being thrown straight into landfill. According to the Council for Textile Recycling, annual textile waste is estimated to equal 25 billion pounds.
Also, because the fabric has already been processed, this reduces the amount of energy, water and dye used in production.
In fact, by recycling one ton of cotton, you can save up to 765,000 litres of water.
Using recycled cotton to create clothes and other items also reduces CO2 fossil fuel emissions.
More and more fashion brands and designers are opting to use recycled cotton fabric in their production to create sustainable and earth-friendly products.
If you are looking for some recycled cotton inspiration, check out some of our favourite picks, from homewares to clothing.
Here are just a few..
This beautiful ethical cushion cover is made using 100% recycled cotton and hand-printed by local artisans in South India.
These lovely surface wipes are crafted in London from recycled cotton waste and bento bag offcuts. These make a perfect alternative to non-reusable surface wipes.
This eco friendly stylish rope bucket bag is handmade in London from soft, flexible and durable 100% recycled cotton rope and has a fine woven texture.
This gorgeous top in pink is made in the UK using 100% recycled cotton fabric from dead stock/end of roll fabrics which would otherwise be discarded.
These face masks are made from 100% recycled cotton fabrics from textile off-cuts, meaning they are plastic-free and help to reduce textile waste.
Make Your Own
If you are feeling particularly crafty and inspired to make something yourself out of some old material you might have at home, then check out our blog which shows you how to make your own scrunchy here.