Recycling is an essential part of our daily lives. As designers and others who work in the fashion industry, we all know the effect fast fashion is having globally. Consumers demand keeping up with every current trend, and we can’t change that. But we can make sure that what we do and the service that we offer in our industry on a daily basis has a positive effect on the environment.

Yes, manufacturers are producing an enormous amount of clothes that is in fashion one day, and discarded the next. As a result, landfills are filled with discarded clothes. In addition, fast fashion is having an effect on the planet’s CO2 emissions.

But we can do our part. We can improve how we design, print and manufacture fabric and garments to preserve the planet for future generations. We can try to limit the amount of energy, water and chemicals we use in the production of our products. And we can think of ways to recycle used clothes and fabrics so that they don’t end up in landfills.

There’s another positive effect of taking the planet into account in your company. It’s a proven fact that customers prefer brands that have a sustainable ethos, those that are environmentally aware in everything that they do. Sustainability is such an important issue these days that the world is taking it seriously, and we need to do everything we can to protect our planet.

The hard facts about fabric recycling

There’s no getting away from it – the fashion and fabric industry is considered one of the biggest contributor to pollution in the world. We can change this with positive action and attitude. This involves manufacturing products that are long-lasting and environmentally friendly, using more sustainable manufacturing methods. It’s vital that we take energy conservation seriously, and do our utmost to cut down on pollution. 

What is a sustainable textile?

  • Sustainable textiles are those that are natural and plant-based, fabrics that have been grown without using pesticides and other toxic chemicals. Examples include cotton, linen and flax.
  • These raw materials are then manufactured using less water and energy so that they become even more sustainable.
  • Sustainable fabrics also include recycled fabrics, materials that are given a second life.
  • We also consider some fabric blends of natural and synthetic materials to be sustainable. And we consider synthetic fabric like rPET (recycled polyester) to be sustainable as it’s produced from upcycled plastic waste, eg plastic bottles.

How can we recycle clothing and textiles with recycling centre and home collections.

Here’s some helpful inspiration on how to be more sustainable:

  1. To produce more sustainable fabric and fashion clothing, we need to use more sustainable fabrics, as this will have a huge impact on their environmental impact.

Since 2020, the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) in the UK, a policy followed by fashion brands, designers, materialproducers and recyclers, has been doing its utmost to assist the fashion industry reduce the impact of fabric and garment waste. Through various initiatives, SCAP has measured and calculated the sustainable progress we’re making and offered valuable solutions to “reduce the carbon, water pollutes and waste impacts of fashion clothing products”.

  1. For textile recycling, various UK registered charities, charity shops and organisations offer garment collection facilities. Aside from the fabric initiative undertaken by the likes of Salvation Army, there are many others you can use. These include icollectclothesHeartUKand The British Heart Foundation. Some have charity shops, and others offer free home collections, making fabric recycling policy easy.
  2. Think about ways you can use fabric remnants to create products for your small business.
  3. You can also follow maake’s lead by creating new items out of these leftover fabrics. We call this the maakeLess fabric waste initiative. maake’s initiative includes sending fabric remnants to local charities, schools and educational institutions to be reused.
  4. maake also collects all material offcuts from our printing processes and put these into 1kg and 2.5kg upcycling bags. And we offer these free of charge to customers. Pick these up from our local factory in North London, forfree. Or have one delivered to your home (the only amount you pay is for the price of shipping).

Some companies provide a service for clothes and fabric recycling

As we know, textiles recycling is good for the environment! Once you’ve recycled your discarded garments and textiles, they are sorted and reprocessed into new items.

Here are some more ideas on how to recycle textiles and clothes…

  • Drop off unwanted clothing and textiles at fabric recycling sites, textile banks and textiles recycling points in supermarkets and local car parks.
  • Some high street retailers like H&M, M&S and Primark have clothing donation banks and clothes, shoes and other recycling bins in a selection of fashion stores. Use these to recycle and reuse unwanted items made from fabric that are still in good condition.
  • Donate unwanted fabric and garments to a charity store.

Interested in where you can recycle in the UK? You don’t have to search Facebook Twitter and Instagram to find your nearest site or recycling bank. For your nearest recycling centre, just follow this recycling locator! Just a simple postcode check.

Looking at textile waste from a different perspective

  • When you buy something made of fabric, make a conscious choice – select something eco-friendly rather than synthetic.
  • Buy only as much fabric as you need for a project, no more. That way, you will find that you won’t have scraps to reuse.
  • One man’s trash is another man’s treasure: remember this. Use leftover materials, like the ones we offer at maake, to create new items for your small enterprise.
  • The easiest fabricto recycle is cotton, as it’s biodegradable. This is a good tip to remember every time you produce or purchase a garment.

How your recycling projects can save the planet

  1. Recycle textiles by using them to make items for your company – clothes, tableware or home décor accessories. 
  2. Print a design or pattern on the plain textiles, or dye them. 
  3. Let’s do a little arithmetic. If you order one 15kg upcycling bag containing fabricoffcuts, you’re saving a lot of fabrics from going to landfill. And that 15kg is also equivalent to textile waste usually created by 3 people in the UK in a year. Think about that!

Your reward for recycling textiles with maake

When you order one of maake’s upcycling bags, which we offer absolutely free of charge, you receive a bag full of plain textile offcuts from our factory. We also give you a maakeLess fabric waste contributor certificate.

You can share this with your followers by taking a photograph of yourself with this certificate and tagging us @maakeuk. Then we’ll add you to our contributor list for our global fans to see on our Instagram page!

Upcycle fabrics with maake

Don't wait any longer, grab your 1 and 2.5kg upcycling bags full of fabric offcuts today. We also offer a shipping box filled with up to 15kg of plain fabric offcuts. View item and click here to get your free bag now. If you prefer, you can have the upcycling bag delivered to you – all you pay is for delivery.


July 11, 2023 — Artemis Doupa