While we all speak of sustainable ways of living, fashion and our lifestyle is a major contributor to the cause. As consumers, we welcome usage of recycled or up-cycled materials, provided they fulfil our aesthetic and functional need.

With all the efforts that we are putting to create systems and processes that lead to optimise the values of sustainability, my explorations lead me to a mill on the outskirts of Delhi, where old cotton scrap is being treated to make recycled yarns for usage of fabric production.

The visit was an amazing experience. I am keen to share it with everyone.

I have made a small presentation that encapsulates the process of yarn manufacturing.

The steps to make recycled cotton yarns are as under:


Post-production waste scrap Cotton is bought by scrap dealers from garment manufacturing unit by scrap dealers and then in turn sell to such mills.

The scarp is manually segregated. All impurities and other waste elements are removed.

As it is all dyed and printed fabric scrap, colour-wise separation is done so that one ends up with uniform coloured, dyed yarn.


The scrap of each colour is then taken into the process of cleaning and sifting. The process involves disintegrating fabric into pulp and fibre. The fibre is then taken to the mixer where about 2% of polyester fibre is mixed to strengthen the short fibres of cotton obtained from scarp.


The fibre is taken through the process of carding to make sliver. This sliver is now ready to go for spinning into yarn. The yarn count (or thickness) can be controlled by the spinning machine. In case the yarn requires to be doubled, it can be done during spinning itself. The yarn is now ready to be taken for weaving.


Next time you buy an apparel made of recycled materials, you will know what went into it and what has been your contribution to the environment.

Now, to tabulate the processes reduced, here are the key contributors:

  • The reuse of waste material reduces landfill.
  • Since the yarn is pre-dyed, it did not go through the chemical processes of dyeing of the fabric so made.
  • And why did we switch to man-made fibres in the first place? For their cost effectiveness. Recycling reduces the cost of end product, making it easier on the pocket of the consumer.
  • And then one gets a cotton product instead of a polyester one.
  • Since this product will have a 3%-4% polyester blend, it will naturally be easy to maintain, with machine washable and easy iron features.

About the author


Shunya is a journey of fashion veteran, Rajesh Jain, a business strategist in the Fashion & Retail industry. His domains cover all aspects of business – Product, People & Processes. He has journaled here his observations of this ever-changing trends in consumer behaviour and lifestyle.

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