Fabrics & Processing | News & Insights

Recycled Fibres…The Advanced & Integral Fibres of Today

Published: February 27, 2024

Article by Mr Avinash Mayekar, MD –Suvin Expo LLP 

From Cost, Quality, and Appearance to comfort the journey of fibres in our lives has been a combination of the above factors. But it is time to throw a new factor into this quartet. The most important and necessary factor to be introduced is pledging commitment to our environment. It is high time for us to start considering recycled fibre as a distinguishing factor for a better tomorrow. 

We have red flags all around us. Global warming is flashing red signals all around the world, be it Europe, Africa, or India. Having travelled to places with my profession I have learnt the art of observing the changes in nature. In my recent visits to Europe, Africa, and as a native habitat to India I have noticed these red flags for quite some time now. During Europe, I noticed that the snowiest areas had very little snowfall this time around. Also as a passionate wild bird photographer, I observed there were very few birds in Kenya during my African Safaris. 

In India, I am always tracking the arrivals of migrant birds, so to my surprise, the “Amur” bird had no presence to date in all the areas where it was observed every year. Similarly where once one could spot millions of bird species at the best bird centuries/ spot areas are now home to less number of species. All these are the immediate red flags and so it is now the time to take action. Our textile being the non-environment friendly output, having hampered a lot to the globe it is now time to stop the nuisance caused to the environment. The challenge is not just avoiding the harm in the future but taking action on the past harm done. We need to reuse, reduce, focus on natural fibres, and recycle most of the textile waste going to landfills. 

So let us reciprocate on devising new strategies that not only are eco-friendly but take care of the most important aspect of recycling the past. We are constantly innovating and looking for advancements in fibres for creating economical garments having premium quality with comfortable wear, to green and organic wear it is now the time to introduce truly circular fashion. The advancement in recycled fibres is the one to bring in. 

Source of Raw Material

  • Garment-cutting waste
  • Pre Consumer Waste / Clean waste 
  • Garments/ Fabrics rejected because of weaving, knitting, or dyeing faults
  • End lots from surplus production 
  • Post-Consumer Waste
  • Discarded by consumers because they are no longer used due to damage, wear, and tear, being out of fashion, or any other reason

Manufacturing process flow – Recycling

The process of recycling fibre starts with getting the various types of waste that act as raw materials. Sorting the material according to colour, type of fibre, variety of fibre & other parameters. Thereafter the fibres are laid down on a lattice to feed an opening line.  Here the fibres are opened up gently then they are fed to a series of rollers which have wire density that increases gradually from the first to the last roller. The no. of rollers depends on the type of material to be produced, the type of wire specifications, and the use of the line whether it is for the nonwoven industry, open-end spinning or for ring spinning. Thus the sequence of the machine also changes.

The recycling fibre process development starts from the collection and is very much dependent on the system of coding based on colour shades and material. Pre-consumer waste and post-consumer waste is collected depending on availability. Pre-consumer wastes like trims can be collected through Tender Management. There can be annual tender contracts with garment manufacturers/ process houses for a continuous supply of pre-consumer waste. The collected waste needs to be labelled and stored. Fibre and colour-wise code needs to be adopted and stored in different containers. Test Material grading is needed for sorting into the different grading levels. Post this stage there will be sellable bale management with a barcode system having colour synced and material-specific bales generated. Colour grading and distribution is a difficult task hence it needs proper process formation, adoption, and implementation. For colour-specific customers, we need to have batching or fibre dyeing sample units to create a trial sample portfolio providing our target with the specifications for dyeing needs. The challenge for pre-consumer waste significantly is the colour as they are trims present in different shades.  

Key Reasons to enter into this Business 

  • Great demand for recycled products as their manufacturing converts waste into usable products and reduces pollution
  • Saves natural resources like petroleum, coal & water 
  • Increasing awareness for the use of recycled products among people worldwide
  • Global brands are encouraging their customers to wear/use recycled products through a buy-back mechanism 
  • Low investment for setting up a manufacturing plant
  • Provides low-cost clothing
  • Environmental & economic benefits

Some of the challenges in this business 

  • Getting textile waste from confirmed resources in fixed quantities is difficult
  • For the segregation of waste, there is a need for efficient manpower


As per information, Textile waste is accumulated in India annually to ~8,000 tons which is around 8.5% of global textile waste. Since there is already such a high waste available and textile consumption in India is also in demand which is applicable for recycled products as well.  Due to the awareness across the value chain of increasing global warming. Recycled textile fibres will have scope not only for readymade garments but also in home furnishings and many upcoming technical textile applications. Many innovative & cost-effective products also can be generated by using recycled fibres. The way there is currently a big demand for recycled fibres in the clothing industry there will be a great demand for recycled fibres even in the technical textile industry. 

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