Recycled fashion uses waste materials – such as soda bottles or manufacturer offcuts – to manufacture new textiles and products.    This is a step-beyond secondhand fashion and goes a long way towards combatting the textile waste rampant in the fashion industry.

Trashed Textiles Are Polluting the Planet

Our landfills are filling up fast, and textile waste is a big part of the problem. In fact, in 2010 about 8% of the entire US municipal solid waste stream was made up of textiles, leather, and rubber, much of which came from people tossing out their old clothes. It’s shocking, but true!

Fast Fashion Contributes to Textile Waste

The fast fashion industry is a leading contributor to the world’s textile waste problem. 

  • Industry waste: A typical garment manufacturer wastes 8% to 15% of all fabric they use!  These leftover scraps of fabric – known as offcuts or surplus – find their way into landfills. [i]
  • Consumer waste: Consumer habits compound the problem. We buy tremendous amounts of clothing, and recycle only 15% of all fashion we no longer want. The rest goes to landfills. [ii]

Recycled Textiles Save Resources, Energy & Landfills

So, what to do?  Consider this: fashion made from recycled materials creates new supply streams out of other people’s trash. This requires a mental shift. Once we begin to see textile waste as a valuable source for materials that can be used to make new fashion, we have the opportunity to support a more sustainable supply stream.

But textile waste isn’t the only resource used to make recycled fashion. Recycled textiles are made in one of two ways.

  1. From waste textiles: The first method is to take textile waste like cotton, wool, and so on and shred it until it breaks down into fluff. This fluff is then turned into new fibers which are woven into new fabrics like recycled polyester and recycled cotton.
  2. From other waste products: The second way is to turn non-textile waste like soda bottles into new fibers like recycled polyester. In this process, soda bottles are shredded into tiny bits of plastic then spun into fibers which are used to create new textiles like polyester or Ultrasuede. It takes 5 plastic bottles to create 1 extra-large recycled textile t-shirt![iii]

Hearts’ recycled fashion products aren’t just about recycled textiles. Our eco fashion line incorporates a wide array of materials:

  • Recycled minerals like gold, silver, and bronze eliminate the need to manufacture more metals
  • Recycled glass beads and embellishments reduce the amount of glass that will sit in a landfill for thousands of years
  • Recycled wood or paper beads and materials protect forests by preventing deforestation
  • Recycled leather – either secondhand leather scraps or materials such as ultrasuede made from recycled plastic – helps  preserve the lives of animals

Each piece of Hearts’ recycled fashion benefits the planet in its own way:

  • Making recycled fashion saves energy
  • Creating new textiles and jewelry from recycled materials results in much less chemical pollution
  • Reusing recycled materials eliminates the need to harvest new natural resources
  • Diverting waste from the landfill to the production floor saves landfill space

It’s obvious: Hearts does more than just recycle old textiles! We’re converting all kinds of trashed resources into beautiful recycled fashion you can’t resist. The benefits are hard to ignore, wouldn’t you agree?

Dive deeper and find out more about the use of recycled materials in fashion. 

Material - Recycled -

[i] The Impact Feature: Repreve. (n.d.). Retrieved April 5, 2012, from Fibre2Fashion:

[ii] Issue. (n.d.). Retrieved April 5, 2012, from Council for Textile Recycling:

[iii] Teacher Fact Sheet - Chapter 2.2: Recycling. (n.d.). Retrieved August 24, 2012, from US Environmental Protection Agency: