4 Reasons It’s Difficult To Recycle Clothes

Fashion is consistently evolving, and many of us are just along for the ride. With fast fashion making its way across the nation, many companies are finding it hard to repurpose discarded clothing pieces. There are many reasons it’s difficult to recycle clothes, even as brands find cheaper ways to produce more apparel in an ever-changing environment.

Sorting Clothing Pieces

Many clothing items might not make it to a manufacturer to be remade into something new. Sorting garments involves a long process that requires a lot of labor, from cutting off labels to unstitching collars and trimming lace. Therefore, designers sometimes choose to simply throw clothes out over taking apart apparel pieces to use again.

Lack of Labels

Many clothing companies take a more sustainable initiative by not including labels on the inside of garments, only printing the brand name. This becomes an issue, though, as the tag tells the recycling company information about the material before it goes through the recycling process. On the other hand, some tags fade and become difficult to read. Luckily, many brands have developed newer ways to keep track of fabrics and dyes, so the breakdown process is easier to perform.

Limited Recycling Choices

Some clothing items never make it to recycling because of how the garment is made and how limited the recycling choices are for that clothing type. As of right now, there are only two recycling choices available to retailers: chemical and mechanical.

Chemical Recycling

The chemical recycling procedure breaks down blended fabrics by separating the color from the garments, ultimately preventing fibers from weakening. The old pieces become new, regain their strength, and are remade into other attire.

Mechanical Recycling

During the mechanical process, each apparel piece goes through a shredder, which breaks down the garment and shortens the fiber quality. The torn bits get mixed into a container with fresh material. This is why some clothing pieces appear thin when you buy them from fashion outlets at low prices.


When materials such as cotton and polyester come together, they create bigger problems for renewing old clothes because they’re challenging to unbind. The only procedure to use for unbinding is mechanical recycling, which breaks down the fabrics, turns them into fragments, and transforms them into valuable items such as yarn.

It’s important to know what options retailers have for reusing clothing materials. As businesses learn what options they have for reusing clothing materials, it’s also crucial for you to learn why it’s difficult to recycle clothes and how to remain as sustainable as possible when you’re getting rid of clothing. Donate your unwanted clothes to charity to reduce your carbon footprint and renew another person’s wardrobe with your pieces. Repurposing clothes is essential, even on the brink of a fast-fashion empire.