How Sustainable Are Recycled Nylon Fabrics? A Life-Cycle Analysis

How Sustainable Are Recycled Nylon Fabrics? A Life-Cycle Analysis

By
Quynh Nguyen

Read Time:19 Minutes

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Recycling plastic waste to make nylon fabrics reduces the amount of long-lasting, potentially hazardous plastic in landfills and avoids digging into the nonrenewable fossil reserve for more virgin plastic. And recycled nylon fabrics seem like a win-win situation, but there is more to it. So, we had to ask: How sustainable are recycled nylon fabrics?

Recycled nylon fabrics are generally sustainable. Reutilizing plastic (instead of extracting new petroleum) to make nylon fabrics reduces pressure on nonrenewable fossil resources. It also solves the problematic use of land to store plastic waste for decades before they start to decompose.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the life-cycle of recycled nylon fabrics used for clothes and household items. Then, we evaluate its sustainability, potential, and shortfalls. And in the end, we’ll show you tips for buying sustainable products made with recycled nylon fabrics.

Here’s How We Assessed the Sustainability of Recycled Nylon Fabrics

Recycled nylon fabrics are generally considered sustainable. Reusing plastic to make nylon fibers reduces the pressure on fossil fuels – the raw materials for most virgin nylon. It leads to recycled nylon generally being a low-impact fabric, especially compared to conventional nylon

Recycled nylon fabrics can be made via two different routes: mechanical and chemical. 

“Sustainable: The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level | Avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance”

Oxford Dictionary

To understand the sustainability of recycled nylon fabrics, we must assess its life-cycle and each stage’s sustainability. This life-cycle assessment (LCA) is a method to evaluate the environmental impacts of products and materials. Over the years, companies have strategically used LCA to research and create more sustainable products. So, let’s have a look at the LCA of recycled nylon fabrics!

In this article, we’ll use the cradle-to-grave perspective of the LCA, examining the five stages of the life-cycle of clothes and bedding made with recycled nylon fabrics. When applicable, we also look at cradle-to-gate assessments

The life-cycle stages of recycled nylon fabricsEach stage’s sustainability
Sourcing of recycled nylon fabricsSourcing discarded plastic waste for making recycled nylon is exceptionally sustainable. It utilizes plastic waste instead of depleting the nonrenewable fossil reserves to make virgin plastics.
Manufacturing of recycled nylon fabricsManufacturing recycled nylon fabrics is generally unsustainable. This is especially the case when done with the chemical recycling processes as opposed to the mechanical ones.

Chemical recycling uses chemicals (acids and solvents) to dissolve plastic before reproducing nylon fibers, creating hazardous by-products and waste. It is also relatively energy-intensive. However, chemical recycling can remake nylon fabrics from the same monomers that form the original plastic waste, closing the loop of plastic production.

Conversely, plastic mechanical recycling doesn’t use toxic chemicals. However, this method of producing recycled nylon fabrics tends to suffer from inferior quality. Also, the number of times plastic can be mechanically recycled is limited, making truly circular plastic impossible via the mechanical route. 
Transporting of recycled nylon fabricsTransporting can be a carbon-intensive stage in the life-cycle of items made with recycled nylon fabrics because of the emissions associated with transporting and delivering vehicles. Discarded nylon and other plastics typically travel from various locations to collection hubs, processing factories, sorting centers, shops, and consumer’s houses before going to recycling centers or landfills.
Usage of recycled nylon fabricsThe usage of recycled nylon fabrics is generally considered unsustainable because washing nylon clothes during the usage phase contributes to the increasingly serious problem of microplastic presence in marine environments. However, energy usage for washing, drying, and ironing nylon fabrics could be relatively low. 
End-of-life of recycled nylon fabricsThe end-of-life stage for recycled nylon is not sustainable because this fossil-based material is not biodegradable.

We can say that recycled nylon fabrics are among the more sustainable textile materials. However, the actual environmental impact of a particular product, like stockings or sportswear, depends on more specific factors, including the raw material, the manufacturing processes (chemical or mechanical recycling), and the distance and mode of transportation

Let’s dive deeper into each life-cycle stage and find out how you can buy recycled nylon fabrics more sustainably.

How Sustainable Is the Sourcing of Raw Materials for Recycled Nylon Fabrics

Sourcing discarded plastic waste for making recycled nylon is exceptionally sustainable. It utilizes waste instead of depleting the nonrenewable fossil reserves to make virgin plastics.

What Raw Materials Are Used for Recycled Nylon Fabrics

The raw material for recycled nylon fabrics is plastic waste. Some examples of plastic waste used in manufacturing nylon fabrics are: 

  • Discarded non-woven nylon carpets 
  • Used nylon fishing nets 
  • Plastic bottles
  • Plastic bags 
  • Nylon yarn waste, scraps, and trimmings 

The choice of raw material depends on the manufacturing process. There are various ways to recycle plastic waste, and in recycled nylon fabric production, the methods generally are either mechanical or chemical. 

How Do the Raw Materials Sourced for Recycled Nylon Fabrics Impact the Environment

Sourcing discarded nylon or other plastics to make recycled nylon fabrics is generally sustainable. It helps reduce plastic waste, which clogs up landfills for decades or centuries or, worse yet, ends up in water bodies, harming wildlife and humans. 

Also, the more recycled plastic is used in the new nylon fabrics, the less pressure is put on the nonrenewable fossil resources needed to produce virgin plastic. 

Sourcing Discarded Nylon and Other Plastics Instead of Virgin Plastics To Make Recycled Nylon Fabrics Avoids Depletes Nonrenewable Resources 

The raw materials for virgin nylon come from petroleum or crude oil, a nonrenewable resource that takes millions of years to form and is currently depleting at a rate much too fast

Thus, making nylon fabrics from nylon or other plastic waste instead of virgin plastic avoids further depletion of the nonrenewable fossil reserves. 

Sourcing Discarded Nylon and Other Plastics Instead of Virgin Plastics To Make Recycled Nylon Fabrics Saves Energy Needed For Refining and Cracking 

The raw materials for virgin nylon come from petroleum or crude oil, which requires extracting, refining, and cracking – energy-intensive processes using fuel-guzzling machinery. 

Also, transporting fossil fuels from often far-flung extraction sites, by trucks, ships, tankers, and/or pipelines, to refining and manufacturing facilities is another source of energy usage.

Thus, making nylon fabrics from nylon or other plastic waste instead of virgin plastic saves the energy often required in this sourcing stage of virgin nylon.

Sourcing Discarded Nylon and Other Plastics Instead of Virgin Plastics To Make Recycled Nylon Fabrics Reduces The Global Warming Impact 

The high energy consumption in sourcing raw materials for virgin nylon can lead to elevated global warming impact when manufacturing burns fossil fuels for energy. 

Additionally, the production of adipic acid – the secondary constituent part of most types of virgin nylon fabric – releases nitrous oxide. As a greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide (N2O) is much worse than carbon dioxide (CO2)

Thus, making nylon fabrics from nylon or other plastic waste instead of virgin plastic saves carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions during the sourcing stage of virgin nylon. 

Sourcing Discarded Nylon and Other Plastics Instead of Virgin Plastics To Make Recycled Nylon Fabrics Avoids Pollution and Habitat Destruction 

Drilling for crude oil or natural gas causes lasting environmental damage, from air and water pollution to habitat degradation and destruction and other disruptions to wildlife. 

Thus, making nylon fabrics from nylon or other plastic waste instead of virgin plastic avoids such adverse environmental impacts. 

Related: Are you interested to find out more about the environmental impact of sourcing virgin nylon? Check it out in this article here: “How Sustainable Are Nylon Fabrics? A Life-Cycle Analysis.”
Recycling Discarded Plastics To Make Recycled Nylon Fabric Reduces Plastic Waste 

Humans have made, used, and thrown away a lot of plastics. Such plastic waste is choking our planet. 

The shift towards single-use plastic packaging creates even more waste as these items are thrown away after one use. 

Our World in Data shows that in 2010 global plastic waste (275 million tonnes) exceeded the annual primary plastic (270 million tonnes). Though the wastage of plastic from previous years is the tipping point for this seemingly impossible balance, single-used plastic is among the culprits. 

Worse yet, of the seven billion tonnes of plastic waste generated worldwide since plastic was first invented, less than 10% has been recycled. Millions of tonnes of plastic waste are lost to the environment, causing plastic pollution

Most plastic-based fabrics are currently non-biodegradable. When not recycled, plastic waste takes up space in landfills for decades or centuries. It gets worse: plastic waste enters ponds, lakes, rivers, and oceans, harming wildlife, entering the food chain, and causing escalating health risks. 

In brief, sourcing nylon and other plastic waste for recycled nylon fabrics helps reduce the amount of plastic waste in landfills, the pressures on nonrenewable fossil resources, and the global warming impact of producing raw materials for virgin nylon. 

Where Are the Raw Materials for Recycled Nylon Fabrics Usually Sourced From

Nylon and other plastic waste (the raw material for recycled nylon fabrics) can be collected before or after being used by a consumer. 

The former type of plastic waste (pre-consumer or post-industrial) can occur at any point during manufacturing and selling. Some examples of this type of discarded plastic waste are: 

  • Cutting scraps 
  • Semi-finished clothing products
  • Returned clothing products 

Pre-consumer waste is straightforward to collect and classify in terms of material, color, and materials. It is also less likely to be contaminated compared to post-consumer plastic waste. Contamination is significant in making recycled nylon in a mechanical process, as we will discuss in the next life-cycle stage. 

The latter type of waste (post-consumer) is generated at consumers’ homes or within various industries. Some examples of this type of discarded nylon waste are: 

  • Clothes
  • Carpets 
  • Fishing nets 

Post-consumer plastic recycling challenges are difficulties in sorting and dealing with contamination risks.

How Sustainable Is the Manufacturing of Recycled Nylon Fabrics

Manufacturing recycled nylon fabrics is generally unsustainable. This is especially the case when done with the chemical recycling processes as opposed to the mechanical ones.

Chemical recycling uses chemicals (acids and solvents) to dissolve plastic before reproducing nylon fibers, creating hazardous by-products and waste. It is also relatively energy-intensive. However, chemical recycling can remake nylon fabrics from the same monomers that form the original plastic waste, closing the loop of plastic production.

Conversely, plastic mechanical recycling doesn’t use toxic chemicals. However, this method of producing recycled nylon fabrics tends to suffer from inferior quality. Also, the number of times plastic can be mechanically recycled is limited, making truly circular plastic impossible via the mechanical route. 

In the following sections, we will look into the mechanical and chemical manufacturing processes of recycled nylon fabrics separately to highlight the distinct natures of each method and how they affect the sustainability of recycled nylon fabrics. 

How Sustainable Is The Mechanical Process To Manufacture Recycled Nylon Fabrics 

The standard steps in making mechanically recycled nylon fabrics are generally as follows: 

  1. Collection: Plastic waste is collected post-consumer and pre-consumer (or post-industrial). 
  2. Sorting: Plastic waste is sorted to categorize into groups of materials and remove contaminating objects. This can be done manually and/or automatically
  3. Cleaning: Sorted waste is washed and dried 
  4. Shredding or grinding: Dried plastic flakes are shredded into small pieces or ground into granules 
  5. Reprocessing: Shredded or grounded plastic is, first, melted and, then, reprocessed using heat and pressure. These mechanical forces tend to degrade the polymers, such as shortening the length or changing the distribution, leading to inferior end products. 
  6. Creating recycled nylon fabrics: The reprocessed polymers are used and made into recycled nylon fabrics through a series of steps similar to manufacturing virgin nylon:
    1. Extrusion
    2. Loading
    3. Stretching 
    4. Drawing 
    5. Weaving or knitting
    6. Finishing 

Let’s now deep dive into a few key sustainable issues of this life-cycle stage.

Producing Mechanically Recycled Nylon Fabrics Doesn’t Use Toxic Chemicals 

Unlike producing virgin nylon and chemically recycled nylon, the mechanical process of reprocessing plastic polymers doesn’t use any toxic chemicals, avoiding the risks of further polluting the environment and harming the health of workers and consumers. 

For example, a t-shirt made with mechanically recycled nylon has a global warming impact 82% lower than virgin fossil-based nylon 6,6, according to a life-cycle assessment from Fulgar. 

Reduced carbon emissions could be credited to removing fossil fuels in the form of raw materials and process chemicals (as they are in the production of virgin nylon).

Recycled Nylon Fabrics Produced Mechanically Tends To Have Lower Quality 

The mechanical process of recycling plastics tends to degrade the polymers, such as shortening the length or changing the distribution, leading to inferior recycled nylon fabrics as the end products. 

Consequently, mechanically recycled nylon fabrics would have a shorter lifespan than virgin nylon fabrics and chemically recycled nylon fabrics, as we will discuss later.

Also, polymer degradation in mechanical recycling limits the number of times plastics can be recycled: Most plastics can only be mechanically recycled 3 to 7 times. This means that making nylon fibers truly circular using the mechanical route is impossible.

It is important to note that recycling plastic waste mechanically for nylon production is expensive partly due to sorting and cleaning requirements. As nylon melts at a low temperature, the contaminated feedstock tends to melt before some contaminants are removed. Thus, thorough and costly sorting and cleaning are necessary. 

Generally, mechanically recycled plastic is more expensive than virgin plastic, reducing businesses’ incentive to invest in the sector. In other words, though mechanically recycled nylon fabrics can be highly sustainably produced, the cost of production means only a few manufacturers are willing to make them. 

How Sustainable Is The Chemical Process To Manufacture Recycled Nylon Fabrics 

The standard steps in making chemically recycled nylon fabrics are generally as following: 

  1. Collection: Plastic waste is collected post-consumer and pre-consumer (or post-industrial). 
  2. Sorting: Nylon waste is sorted to categorize into groups of materials and remove contaminating objects. This can be done manually and/or automatically. 
  3. Depolymerization: Nylon waste is broken down into monomers. This is typically a chemical process involving a catalyst(s), such as hydrogenation
  4. Creating recycled nylon fabrics: The monomers are made into recycled nylon fabrics through a series of steps similar to manufacturing virgin nylon:
    1. Polymerization
    2. Extrusion
    3. Loading
    4. Stretching 
    5. Drawing 
    6. Weaving or knitting
    7. Finishing 

Let’s now deep dive into a few key sustainable issues of this life-cycle stage.

Producing Chemically Recycled Nylon Fabrics Depends On Toxic Chemicals 

Chemical recycling needs toxic chemicals (acids and solvents) to dissolve the plastics. Waste from such production poses environmental and health risks if not treated properly. 

Producing Chemically Recycled Nylon Fabrics Is Relatively Energy-Intensive 

Chemical recycling of plastic needs more energy than the mechanical recycling alternative. High energy consumption could lead to elevated global warming impact when manufacturing burns fossil fuels for energy.

Still, manufacturing recycled nylon using a chemical process potentially has lower GHG emissions than manufacturing virgin nylon. For example, the production of Econy – Aquafi’s chemically recycled nylon yarn – uses about 50% less energy and saves about 50% carbon emission compared to virgin nylon yarn.

Recycled Nylon Fabrics Produced Chemically Can Potentially Replicate The Quality of The Original Fabrics

Studies have proven that chemical recycling of nylon can create the exact monomers to produce the original nylon waste, closing the nylon production loop. 

Where Are Recycled Nylon Fabrics Usually Manufactured

The world’s largest recycled nylon fabric producers are located in China, Japan, the US, Italy, and Spain.

The major sustainability issue with recycled nylon manufacturing is the source of energy used in factories. According to Our World in Data, the shares of renewable energy in primary energy in major recycled-nylon-producing nations vary significantly, with Spain having the highest percentage.

  • China: 14.95% renewable energy
  • Japan: 11.46% renewable energy
  • The US: 10.66% renewable energy
  • Italy: 18.36% renewable energy
  • Spain: 22.34% renewable energy

Renewable energy (solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, and biomass) would significantly reduce carbon emissions at this manufacturing stage.

How Sustainable Is the Transportation of Recycled Nylon Fabrics

Transporting can be a carbon-intensive stage in the life-cycle of items made with recycled nylon fabrics because of the emissions associated with transporting and delivering vehicles. Discarded nylon and other plastics typically travel from various locations to collection hubs, processing factories, sorting centers, shops, and consumer’s houses before going to recycling centers or landfills.

In the life-cycle of recycled nylon clothes and household items, transportation typically occurs as below:

  • From places where plastic waste are collected, including factories or warehouses (for pre-consumer waste) and donation centers or special containers for used garments (for post-consumer waste), to the nylon fiber manufacturing locations
  • From the recycled nylon fibers and fabrics manufacturing location to the clothing manufacturing location 
  • From the clothing manufacturing location to sorting centers/physical shops 
  • From sorting centers/physical shops to the consumer’s house 
  • From the consumer’s house to the centers for recycling/ disposing of
Traveling Distances of Recycled Nylon Fabrics Vary Depending on the Supply Chain

It is not uncommon for recycled nylon fabrics to have their supply chain spreading globally, meaning that the original point of collection, fiber reprocessing, clothing manufacturing, and finishing might happen in various towns, countries, or even continents. 

Here are some scenarios for transporting recycled nylon fabrics

  • Fabric producers might collect plastic waste from factories in Pakistan, transport the waste first to sorting centers in India, then to processing factories in China, and finally to consumer markets in the US. 
  • Used plastic items are collected in the US and Europe and sent to India to be sorted by material after removing non-recyclable items. Shorted nylon waste is then sent to Italy for manufacturing new recycled nylon household items. Finished recycled nylon products are finally transported around the world, including back to the US, to sell to consumers. 

You can reduce the transporting carbon footprint by choosing recycled nylon fabrics that travel shorter distances.

The Carbon Footprint of Transporting Recycled Nylon Fabrics Depends Largely on the Vehicle of Transportation 

During its life-cycle, a piece of recycled nylon clothing can be transported using various types of vehicles, including:

  • Large container ships 
  • Planes 
  • Freight trains 
  • Long-distance trucks 
  • Short-distance delivering vans 

And these various types of transportation vehicles have different carbon footprint impacts: 

For example, as a consumer, you can choose not to pick the fast delivery option when ordering nylon clothing items and accessories to reduce the carbon footprint of your order. 

How Sustainable Is the Usage of Recycled Nylon Fabrics

The usage of recycled nylon fabrics is generally considered unsustainable because washing nylon clothes during the usage phase contributes to the increasingly serious problem of microplastic presence in marine environments. However, energy usage for washing, drying, and ironing nylon fabrics could be relatively low. 

A major sustainability issue with using nylon fabrics, recycled nylon fabrics included, is the microplastics released into the environment due to washing the material. 

Plastic-based textiles, including nylon, polyester, acrylic, and others, are responsible for around half a million tons of plastic microfibers shed into the oceans annually as these fabrics are washed. At sea or in other water bodies, these microplastics cause harm to fishes that ingest them and numerous animals (including us humans) further up the food chain. 

However, nylon fabrics generally have low absorbency. Thus, clothes made with recycled nylon tend to dry fast and tend not to require ironing, saving energy during usage. Ironing, washing, and drying (the usage phase) accounts for a high share of energy consumption in the life cycle of clothing

As a consumer, you can reduce the environmental impact of your usage by maximizing the number of wears between washes, avoid unnecessary hot washes or machining drying. Also, the longer you use a piece of clothing, the lesser the environmental impact of each wear. 

How Sustainable Is the End-of-Life of Recycled Nylon Fabrics

The end-of-life stage for recycled nylon is not sustainable because this fossil-based material is not biodegradable.

Traditional fossil-based nylon is not biodegradable, whether it is virgin or recycled. This material still takes at least decades to decompose in natural environments

In comparison, natural fibers such as wool or cotton are fully biodegradable. For example, cotton typically takes 11 weeks to decompose.

How Circular Are Products Made of Recycled Nylon Fabrics

In the textile industry, a circular economy is designed to keep products and materials in use for as long as possible, especially through reusing and recycling. It also covers regenerating natural systems that support the industry and reducing polluted waste released into such systems.

“The circular economy is a systems solution framework that tackles global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution.”

Ellen MacArthur Foundation

As a whole, the textile industry is almost linear: 97% of the input are new resource.

Recycling post-consumer recycled nylon fabrics is a complicated and expensive process. Breaking down recycled nylon fabrics into constituent fibers requires a lot of energy, leading to many companies using virgin nylon or plastic bottles instead of recycling discarded fabrics. 

Additionally, nylon melts at low temperatures, meaning some contaminants – non-recyclable materials and microbes or bacteria – can survive, hindering the recycling process. 

Regardless, there are commercial recycled nylon fibers, with Econyl being a well-known recycled yarn produced in a closed-loop system.

How Can You Buy Recycled Nylon Fabrics More Sustainably

The key to sustainably buying recycled nylon products is to check on relevant environmental and original certifications.

  • Recycled Claim Standard (RCS): The Textile Exchange RCS was originally developed as an international, voluntary standard that sets requirements for third-party certification of Recycled input and chain of custody. 
  • The Global Recycled Standard (GRS): The Global Recycled Standard (GRS) is an international, voluntary, full product standard that sets requirements for third-party certification of Recycled Content, chain of custody, social and environmental practices, and chemical restrictions. It can be used for any product with more than 20% recycled material. 
  • OEKO-TEX®: OEKO-TEX® labels aim to ensure that products pose no risk to human health (i.e. containing banned chemicals). 
  • STeP by OEKO-TEX®: STeP by OEKO-TEX® is an independent certification system for brands, retailers, and manufacturers from the textile and leather industry. It communicates organizational environmental measures, including reducing carbon footprint and water usage.

Some certifications are signaling brands’ efforts toward lowered environmental impacts and a circular economy are:

  • B Corp Certification: The label B Corp is a certification reserved for for-profit companies. Certified holders are assessed on their social and environmental impacts. 
  • Cradle2Cradle certification: Cradle2Cradle provides a standardized approach to material circularity. It assesses whether products have been suitably designed and made with the circular economy in mind covering five critical categories: material health, material reuse, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness.

Where to Buy Sustainable Recycled Nylon Fabrics 

We have established throughout the life-cycle assessment that recycled nylon fabrics are generally sustainable, mainly thanks to the highly sustainable sourcing stage. Regardless we’ve put together a list of brands using recycled nylon fabrics. This list is in alphabetical order. 

Why Is It Important to Buy Products Made of More Sustainable Fabrics

It is important to buy products made of more sustainable fabrics because a sustainable textile industry has a lower carbon footprint, helps save natural resources, and is better for forests, animals, and humans. 

Buying Sustainable Fabrics Reduces Your Carbon Footprint 

The production of clothing and footwear is estimated to contribute 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions – more than all international flights and shipping combined. If the fashion industry were a country, it would be the fourth largest emitter of carbon dioxide

One way to reduce the carbon footprint of the clothes you buy is to opt for sustainable fabrics. Sustainable fabrics, which are often made with natural or recycled fibers, have relatively low carbon footprints compared to petroleum-based fabrics. For example, organic cotton made in the US has a carbon footprint of 2.35 kg CO2 (per ton of spun fiber) – a quarter of nylon’s carbon footprint.

Buying Sustainable Fabrics Reduces the Demand For Natural Resources and Waste Management

The textile industry uses water and land to grow cotton and other fibers. It is estimated that 79 billion cubic meters of water were used for the sector worldwide in 2015. For example, producing a single cotton t-shirt requires as much water as one person drinks for 2.5 years (2,700 liters of fresh water).

Worse yet, the textile economy is vastly more linear than circular: the largest amount of resources used in clothes ended up in landfill (instead of being recycled to remake clothes). According to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation,

  • Less than 3% of materials used in the textile economy in 2015 came from recycled sources.
  • In other words, more than 97% of resources used in making clothes are extracted new. 

When clothing items are disposed of within a short period of time – under a year in the case of half of the fast fashion clothes – the natural systems that provide raw materials for fabrics don’t have enough time to recover and regenerate, which could lead to ecological breakdown. 

Sustainable fabrics are made with less water and emissions while lasting longer:

  • Because they are durable, you don’t need to buy new clothes too often. 
  • Thus, you help reduce to pressure to extract more resources for making new items. 

Similarly, making and consuming sustainable fabrics made with recycled materials reduces the demand for virgin materials while helping tackle waste management. 

Buying Sustainable Fabrics Encourages the Sustainable Management of Forests

Sustainable plant-based fabrics are made with raw materials from forests and plantations that are sustainably managed, such as complying with FSC standards

When you buy sustainable plant-based fabrics, you discourage unsustainable forestry practices like illegal logging. You can help reduce deforestation, biodiversity loss, and the effect of climate change. 

Buying Sustainable Fabrics Encourages Fairer Treatment of Animals 

The fashion industry is rife with animal mistreatment when it comes to making animal-based fabrics like cashmere or leather. Every year, billions of animals suffer and die for clothing and accessories.

Buying sustainable vegan alternatives can help to reduce the pressure on raising more and more animals to meet the demand for animal-based fabrics while sacrificing their well-being and lives. 

Suppose you have to buy fabrics made with, for example, leather or wool; make sure you only choose brands committed to cruelty-free products. In that case, you help advocate better treatments for animals raised within the textile industry. 

Using Sustainable Fabrics Encourages Fairer Treatment of Textile Workers 

Recent statistics from UNICEF estimated as many as 170 million child laborers worldwide, many of whom were engaged in some form of work in the textile industry. They don’t get paid minimum wages and often work long hours. 

When you buy sustainable fabrics from brands transparent about the working conditions at their factories, you discourage the use of child labor and help promote better working conditions for textile workers.

Final Thoughts

Recycled nylon fabrics are generally sustainable. Particularly, mechanically recycled nylon fabrics are amongst the most sustainable textile materials. 

To make it even more sustainable:

  1. Buy second-hand when possible.
  2. While using recycled nylon products, maximize the number of wear between washes, and keep the items as long as possible.
  3. At the end of recycled nylon products, upcycle the material to extend its usage and arrange for it to be recycled or properly disposed of. 

Stay impactful,



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