Creating New Clothes from Old
It’s estimated that 60% of Americans recycle regularly. But even with our best efforts to make it easier, the U.S. as a whole only recycles 34% of the waste created. The rest ends up in landfills where it can take centuries to decompose. As our population expands, that will present a problem in coming years.
Out of all that waste created, 14 million tons of it is old clothes. In fact, 84% of the clothing we buy will ultimately end up in the landfill, or incinerated. There is, however, a better way. Recycling clothing hasn’t caught on as much as recycling plastics and metals, but it is picking up speed.
The Process of Recycling
If you remember back to your elementary school days you were taught the basic fundamentals of recycling. Perhaps you remember the experiment where you took paper and soaked it in water for a day or two. It was then put into a blender and mashed into pulp. That pulp was pressed onto a screen and allowed to dry.
Because paper is made from natural fibers, the quality of the recycled paper will be slightly lower than the original. Every time paper is recycled the fibers are cut down a little more, eventually degrading to a point where they aren’t highly usable; newspapers, with their softer and weaker feeling to them, are paper fibers at the end of their lifecycle.
That same process happens with cotton clothing. But modern technology has proved to be a method of extending the life of recycled clothing.
The Process of Recycling a Shirt
Cotton fibers are very similar to paper fibers. Each time they are recycled, they are shortened. Going through that process means they aren’t quite as useful as before. To make a shirt that is well crafted and long lasting from those fibers, they must be blended with polyester.
Polyester is a generic term for a fabric that is basically plastic. In many clothing instances, that’s exactly what you’re wearing: recycled plastic bottles. The bottles are chipped, melted, compressed into pellets, and then strung out into thread. This durable, and exceedingly soft, thread is woven together with the recycled cotton clothing to create a brand new fabric that we know as the poly-cotton blend. The result is a moisture wicking, soft, durable fabric that can go with you on all of your adventures.
Once the fabric has been made with the blended recycled materials, it is simply cut and stitched together. A process which here at Aspinwall Mountain Wear we are proud to say is all done in the USA. The blank shirts are shipped back to Billings, and screen printing is done locally.
The final product you have seen, and hopefully felt, as a durable t-shirt that is perfect for an afternoon hike, or a week-long trek through the backcountry.
Grab the Best Garb: Aspinwall Mountain Wear
Whether you’re looking for the world’s best hoodie, the perfect t-shirt for an afternoon on the Rimrocks, or a hat to keep the sun out of your eyes, Aspinwall has it! Superior fit, superior durability, and superior styles; it doesn’t get much better than that.