The cost of knitwear to the consumer is no longer the most important factor in choosing knitwear - it is the cost on the earth that matters.
Recycled yarn has an environmental impact 7 times lower than virgin.
This figure represents the reduction in environmental damage caused by animal rearing, and pollution in virgin yarn production, as well as the increased use of perfectly good fibres rescued from landfill or incineration. The processing of secondhand fibres requires far less energy and no dyeing at all.
“The absolute worst thing we can do with any unwanted clothing is dispose of it in the bin, even the most threadbare item,” Cristina Sabaiduc from waste charity WRAP said.
The world throws away 92 million tonnes of textile waste per year. That’s the equivalent to 11.5kg per person.
70% of Britain’s secondhand clothing is sent to countries where landfill is unregulated. Clothing that cannot be sold (around 50% is too poor quality - mainly fast fashion) ends up on Ghana’s beaches or in Chile’s deserts.
Both cashmere and wool have naturally long fibres making them ideal to be recycled. Fibres have the capacity to be recycled 4 times before they become too short - at which point they make warm stuffing for cushions and
Recycled cashmere has an environmental impact that is 7 times lower than virgin cashmere.
The demand for cashmere has led to widespread desertification of Mongolian grassland.
Recycled yarn requires no agriculture - no raising of animals or growing of crops to feed them. No dyeing is required for recycled yarn.
Once collected and shipped from all over the world, waste knitwear is sorted by content and colour and stored until required.
The garments are prepared for recycling by having all their labels and trims removed.
A defibering machine mechanically pulls apart the garments and reduces them to fibres, similar to that which is shorn from an animal.
The portions of the yarn are cleaned to wash out impurities.
Next, the yarn is carded, is a process that straightens out the fibres to make it easier to spin into yarn.