Eco-friendly Clothing Materials: Recycled Cotton

Eco-friendly Clothing Materials

A true sign of human civilization is our clothing. No other creature in the world covers its body with materials like leather and silk. While clothing is a sign of our civilization it’s also something that’s rapidly destroying our planet. 

Did you know? In 2023, we had thrown over 97 million tonnes of waste that came from the fashion industry alone. On that over 18 million tonnes was leftover fabrics. So as you can see our clothing habits aren’t as fashionable as we like to think. 

But there is hope in the form of eco-friendly clothing materials in particular recycled cotton which is the subject of today’s article. What is it? How is it made? And where is it used? We will answer all of these questions.

What Is Recycled Cotton?

Recycled cotton is basically what it says it is. It is cotton that has been recycled to be used to make something else. Instead of throwing the cotton away to rot in landfills, they are given a new lease on life. The process positively impacts the environment, economy, and other areas.

The recycled cotton helps to reduce waste and resources mainly. They do so by lessening the need to produce new cotton which takes a long time and a lot of resources. The practice of recycling cotton also does a lot for the environment by saving on water and land. 

Instead of being used to produce cotton, land and water can be used to produce other more helpful things, such as food. Recycled cotton is a major eco-friendly clothing material that’s quickly gaining a lot of popularity. 

How Is Recycled Cotton Made?

How Is Recycled Cotton Made

The process of making eco-friendly clothing materials like recycled cotton can vary a lot. It all depends on the manufacturers and the type of cotton they recycle. However, there are some similar steps. So here is a more generic guide on how recycled cotton is manufactured:


The first step to making eco-friendly clothing materials is to collect the material to be recycled. In this case, it’s any kind of discarded cotton clothing or fabric. They are collected from various recycling centers or donation bins. Once collected they are transported to recycling centers. 


After they reach the recycling centers the cotton clothing and fabrics are sorted based on various factors. These factors can be color or quality-based. The reason for doing this is to make the recycling process easier. 


After the sorting is completed, the cotton is then shredded into smaller pieces. This helps make the next steps easier. 


The shredded cotton then goes through a cleaning process to remove a thorough cleaning process to remove any dirt, stains, or chemicals. By doing this the recycled cotton will be easier to handle and process. 


Cleaned recycled cotton is then carded to ensure all the strands are in the same direction. This step works to create a more smooth and uniform texture when we get to the next step. 


The carded recycled cotton can now be used for real. The cotton strands are loaded onto a spinning machine to be woven into new fabrics. 

Weaving or Knitting

And the final step of making recycled cotton is to weave and knit them into new items. If done correctly, this new and recycled cotton can be used in anything from clothing to household items. 

Where Is Recycled Cotton Used?

As we said, we can use recycled cotton to make a big list of items. But in this part we will list only the major uses. Here they are:

  • Eco-friendly Clothing and Textiles: Blended with recycled plastic bottles to make sustainable clothing and textiles.
  • Industrial Applications: Used for polishing and wiper cloths, as well as in the production of high-quality paper.
  • Fashion Products: Employed by fashion brands for clothing, accessories, shoes, and bags.
  • Household Items: These are used in furnishings, seat stuffing, and home insulation for sustainability.

Top 10 Recycled Cotton Clothing Brands

Now that you have a clearer idea about one of the most popular eco-friendly clothing materials you should also know where you buy clothes made from them. Here are the top 10 most popular recycled cotton clothing brands:

1. Vera Bradley


Vera Bradley creates stylish handbags and accessories known for their quality and innovation. They’re committed to using recycled cotton fabric, blending fashion with environmental consciousness.

2. Huckberry


Huckberry inspires adventure through its diverse products and stories. The Headlands line, made from recycled cotton fabric, is perfect for the upcoming winter. With over 1 million members, Huckberry’s community fosters exploration and excitement.

3. H&M


H&M, a global fashion brand, is transitioning towards sustainability. They prioritize recycled cotton fabric to minimize environmental impact while offering beautiful, high-quality fashion products.

4. Toad&Co


Toad&Co, a leading fashion brand, champions sustainability with clothing made from recycled fibers like cotton and Tencel. They collaborate with the Planet Access Company, creating jobs for people with disabilities.

5. Rapanui


Rapanui embodies circular fashion by reusing and repurposing clothing waste to create new products. They encourage customers to return damaged items for recycling, promoting environmental protection and community engagement.

6. Bébénca Organics


Bébénca Organics focuses on sustainable children’s clothing made from recycled cotton fabric. Their commitment to conscious living ensures safe, quality fashion for little ones.

7. prAna


prAna stands out for using recycled cotton fabric in their clothing, catering to travelers, outdoor enthusiasts, and yogis. Their products offer comfort and quality while reducing waste and supporting environmental protection.

8. Re/Done


Re/Done specializes in vintage clothing, including recycled polyester and cotton T-shirts. They repurpose jeans, showcasing a commitment to sustainability and style.

9. Ecoalf


Ecoalf pioneers sustainable fashion with high-quality clothing made from recycled fabrics. Their range includes T-shirts, jackets, and sweaters, contributing to waste reduction and environmental protection.

10. Mara Hoffman


Mara Hoffman produces swimwear from recycled nylon and polyester, with everyday garments made from recycled cotton. Their ethical approach to fashion promotes sustainability and style for a better world.

Further Reading: Sustainable Fashion in Bangladesh


Eco-friendly clothing materials like recycled cotton are gaining more and more popularity as the dangers of pollution are rising. Recycled cotton is a popular choice for eco-friendly clothing material because of how easily you can make new clothing and other materials from it. 

Various clothing brands, both popular and small-time, are joining the bandwagon of using recycled cotton to make new lines of products. You would do well to find some for yourself and do your part in saving our planet.