Is this the future? Clothing made to be remade
Big brands and boutique labels alike are investing in fabric technologies that allow used clothing to be completely renewed, in the hope that one day we can leave behind textile waste for good.
Let’s take a look at the companies bringing 100% recyclable wardrobes those few steps closer…
Forget wasteful fast fashion - fully recyclable is the new black!
The everlasting trainer
Not content with designing golf shoes made from upcycled plastic waste from beaches and 100% biodegradable sneakers that dissolve away harmlessly after their useful life, the fabric technologists at Adidas have found a way to completely recycle a pair of used trainers. No, not into a water bottle or plastic furniture – into a brand new pair of performance trainers!
"Our dream is that you can keep wearing the same shoes over and over again."
Most training shoes are made using a complex mix of materials and glues, which means they can only be thrown away or downcycled when they wear out. Available from 2021, every part of these FUTURECRAFT.LOOP trainers will be made from one versatile type of plastic: TPU.
Owners of the running shoes will be able to return used ones to Adidas, where they’ll be washed, ground up into pellets, melted and formed into a new pair of FUTURECRAFT.LOOPs, ready to be sent out as replacements for the originals.
The eternal wetsuit
Here’s a fact for you: neoprene wetsuit fabric was originally invented as a synthetic rubber lining for landfill sites.
Another fact: the 380 tonnes of wetsuit waste generated every year is very, very non-biodegradable and therefore more than likely to end up in landfill space itself.
Cornish outdoor clothing company Finisterre brought on board materials scientist Jenny Banks (pictured left, with Finisterre founder Tom Kay) back in 2017 and challenged her to create a wetsuit that can be recycled into a new wetsuit.
"How do we still keep the foam strong, but make the wetsuit recyclable?"
By switching to a texturised biodegradable rubber with a non-laminated finish, Banks has created what Finisterre term “the most recyclable wetsuit out there in the world”. It’s hotter than a standard wetsuit and less easy to get in and out of, so while they’ve made significant progress towards zero waste from wetsuits, testing continues to work out how they can make their fully recyclable suit more comfortable. Good luck to them!
The circular economy’s swimsuit
Stretching beyond recycling ocean plastic waste into fabric, Brighton-based designers RubyMoon reclaim their garments along with other stretch fabrics to reuse in the zingy Gym-to-Swim collections. What's more, all profits from this thoughtful company are reinvested in business loans and training for female entrepreneurs in developing countries.
"Active wear for activists!"
The kind folk at RubyMoon are currently offering Greenredeem members a very healthy 10% discount on all online activewear and swimwear orders.
What else can we do to help keep textile waste out of landfill? Buy vintage or from charity shops? Upcycle and repurpose our clothing? Buy quality not quantity? Repair and maintain what we already have?
Yes, yes, yes and yes!
Here’s a radical idea to help beat fast fashion: clothes leasing is catching on among those who want good quality but can’t bear to be seen in the same outfit twice. Instead of one garment for each person, we have one garment shared between many people. Do you think the time is ripe for a Netflix or Spotify of fashion? Share your thoughts and tips with us here at Greenredeem on Facebook and Twitter.