New breakthroughs in recycled cotton fabric

The next-generation Tencel fibre is a miraculous, contemporary fibre that has been developed by Lenzing. Their latest design is the most eco-friendly fibre in the world and consists of a combination of Tencel, which is a wood-based fibre, and waste cotton fibres. With this innovation, the world has taken a huge step in terms of responsible design and environmental regard.


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The need to recycle waste cotton

The need for recycled cotton is driven by the fact that millions of tons of cotton end up in landfills year after year, while synthetics are polluting our oceans.

The intensive farming methods that involve the excessive use of water, chemicals and pesticides have made white cotton fabric, which is the worlds most widely-used natural fabric in clothing manufacture, a big problem in terms of ecology. Recycled cotton could provide a solution to the huge amount of cotton in landfills and bring the large carbon footprint brought on by its production under control.

Overcoming the challenge

Generally, used cotton needs to be ground into bits and broken down into a raw material first. This creates a fairly low-quality product. Its feel is rough, uncomfortable, fragile and not very durable if worn repeatedly. The touch is very different to the cool, smooth feeling you get from cotton when you buy it from fabric suppliers such as To overcome these negative attributes, the raw recycled fibres are combined with other types of fibres.


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Recycled cotton denim leads the way

Because of these challenges, Levi’s has only managed to produce jeans that include 20 per cent recycled cotton. Using new technology, they can come up with a product made of 100 per cent recycled cotton. By eliminating the costly separation process of trimmings and fabric by using a process that dissolves and separates the reusable materials, a strong and appealing denim can be obtained.

Achieving results

The greatest accomplishment of Lenzing’s new Tencel fibre is the fact that it is durable enough to withstand the recycling process and be transformed into new fashion items. Their goal has been to release the strain put on natural resources. By reusing a fibre in a process that does not add an even bigger carbon footprint, we are slowly achieving the dream of cleaning up the wastefulness of the fashion industry.

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Christopher Washington

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