New Focus Textiles, Ltd.

Recycled Cotton Savings

Recycled Cotton Savings

Environmental Impact Reductions: Mechanically Recycled Cotton

"Life Cycle Environmental Impacts Associated with the Integration of Mechanical Cotton Recycling in Take-Back Systems"

Hello Friends!  Our effort to share important LCA findings with industry peers has been realized through an academic publication.  New Focus Textiles is proud to contribute towards the understanding of a more circular and sustainable textile supply chain.  In partnership with work led by Drs. Roy and Chopra, environmental metrics were examined alongside New Focus staff members.  Together, we explored the textile production process and shared our resources to compare mechanically recycled cotton with virgin cotton.

Research Aims and Assumptions

New Focus Textiles wanted to measure if using mechanically-disintegrated recycled cotton in place of virgin cotton would truly reduce the impact on the environment.  Environmental impact factors were examined using a ‘cradle to gate’ life cycle assessment (LCA).  Those factors included carbon emissions, water usage, pollution in the air, and land consumption.  

Our team of fabric developers, merchandisers, and facility operators have been transitioning to a more circular business model based on the assumptions that waste carries value and by using existing (cotton) materials, our efforts will reduce environmental burdens.  We further assume a built-in take-back system within a vertical textile operation will contribute towards environmental impact reductions.  We use two circular take-back systems (Figures 1 & 2 respectively).   Our recycled cotton textile production incorporates up-cycling pre-consumer garment cutting wastes and post-consumer used finished goods.  Both recycling flows use the same logic, with the primary difference being the source of the cotton fiber (pre- and post-consumer).  Figures 1 & 2 below.  

Pre-Consumer Cycle: Recycled Cotton

mechanical fabric recycling; circular-loop fabric upcycling process for pre-consumer fabric waste; circular fabric production
Figure 1

Post-Consumer Cycle: Recycled Cotton

Circular-loop fabric upcycling with mechanical fabric recycling; recycled cotton fabric supplier
Figure 2

Environmental Impact Reductions

Within this study, New Focus Textiles was able to offer a take-back service (Fig. 1 & 2 above) which allowed for a built-in flow of resource savings.  This research examined data from a fabric with a composition ratio of 70% virgin/30% recycled cotton.  The reduction to environmental impact was calculated to show fabric production with mechanically recycled cotton could reduce the environmental impacts by “2.2-8.6% (carbon emissions), 0.3-27.7% (water footprint), 3.3-6.8% (air pollution), and 1.4-26.4% (land use)(Roy, et al).  The use of mechanically recycled cotton in place of virgin cotton and the ‘take-back system’ are both important factors to note towards the improved reductions of global resources.  It is not assumed, therefore, that all recycled cotton offers the same savings because this study did not account for chemically recycled cotton or mechanically recycled cotton which is not within a vertical take-back loop.  

Industrial Impact and Responsibility

Based on this research, large-scale textile manufacturers with take-back capabilities are assumed to to achieve similar environmental savings with mechanical cotton disintegration and pre-/post-consumer take-back flow.  Our website shares more insight about our circular operations and recycled cotton savings.

 

It is our duty to manufacture as sustainably as possible and share our research with the textile community at large for the greatest impact to environmental savings.  As we better understand the impacts of our material compositions and designs, we may use the best options and processes available for our designs.  New Focus Textiles sources premium virgin cotton and GRS-certified recycled cotton. With special blending techniques, a 70/30 or 80/20 virgin/cotton blend feels soft and looks amazing. Please ask us about this option.

Publication Citation for Reference

Roy, Shimul and Jodie, Chu Ying Yi and Chopra, Shauhrat S., Life Cycle Environmental Impacts Associated with the Integration of Mechanical Cotton Recycling in Take-Back Systems. 

 

Link to 26-page Published Paper HERE.

 

Professor Chopra is an esteemed environmental engineer with a specialization for the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) model in emerging technologies.

New Focus Team

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New Focus Team

We love sharing our operational advancements and design-related updates.  Please email us with questions and comments at info@newfocustex.com