“RECYCLED” IS NOT THE SAME AS “RECYCLABLE”
Why our 100% recycled cashmere sweater is made to last, but not forever. “Recycled” has become a hip sustainability word and many brands pride themselves on sustainability based on their use of recycled materials. Yet, there are some important sidenotes to consider:
Recycled + plastics = Not biodegradable
Check the label carefully: The big bulk of clothing made from recycled fibers is actually a mix of recycled fibers with some kind of plastic-derivate, such as polyester, polyamide and other synthetic fibers. These are added to the recycled fiber to add strength, since recycled fibers are often weaker (due to the shredding process) than the original fiber.
This means that, while many garments’ labels read “made from recycled fibers”, that does not necessarily mean that they are 100% composed of recycled materials. This distinction is not often made.
100% cashmere: Recycled ≠ recyclable
Let’s use the example of a sweater made out of 100% recycled yarns. The yarns are made of recycled fibers, but more often than not, they are composed of a mixture of recycled cashmere, recycled polyester and some type of virgin wool. Now, when this particular sweater dies, it will not biodegrade (completely) since it contains plastics and reunite itself with the circle of life. It will however rot away for decades in landfill or pollute the ocean.
Now, being the conscious consumer that you are, you might decide to bring your sweater to a recycling facility. They will never be able to decompose the fibers in such a way as to separate the different wools and the polyester. So the sweater will be turned into new fibers and a new sweater that contains plastics and leaves behind a trail of microplastics. And so the cycle doesn’t really end.
This is exactly the reason why we at Ida&Volta, decided that we will only use 100 % recycled pure yarns.
Sources: Close the loop, Cilotex webinar