All You Need To Know About Recover™ Recycled Cotton
Revolutionary. Eco. Soft. Recover™ recycled cotton is a low impact, high-quality cotton fibre. So it’s no surprise that TWOTHIRDS uses it in abundance! From lightweight tops through to gorgeous jumpers and deluxe loungewear, we love getting the most out of Recover™ recycled cotton. And because we intend to make 2023 yet another year of recycling, we’re keen to tell the story behind Recover™.
What is Recover™?
Recover™ is the name of a materials science company working at the forefront of the recycled textile industry. Under the banner of Circular Fashion For All, Recover™ takes the majority of its raw material from cut-offs and scraps that occur during the textile manufacturing process. But they’re not content to stop there: Recover™ also recycle a portion of worn clothing too, and intend to increase their output of “post-consumer” recycling to ⅓ of their total production capacity by 2025. As very little used clothing is currently being recycled, this would be an amazing achievement.
Founded in 1947, Recover™ is based in the small town of Banyeres de Mariola, Spain and has other production facilities in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Recover™ has long been associated with recycling and getting the most from available resources. They’ve drawn on several generations of family expertise to create innovative recycling processes - which we’ll explore in detail later!
What is circular fashion?
First let’s revisit Recover™’s intriguing slogan, Circular Fashion For All. Circular fashion is essentially a reaction to “linear fashion”, the widespread system of clothing production which involves the taking, making, and wasting of valuable materials with little regard for the environment or ethics. Meanwhile, circular fashion promises to reduce - if not eliminate - waste from the production of clothing by embracing approaches like recycling and reusing. The point is to get the most out of what already exists, bringing the same textiles back into circulation over and over again. To be worn, and re-worn, and re-re-worn!
So where does Recover™ fit into all this? Well, the company lives up to its name by recovering waste textiles to ensure they can be recycled. They point out that an estimated 48 million tonnes of clothing waste is produced annually, and less than 1 percent of this currently gets recycled into new clothing!
As well as starting to address this “textile waste crisis” Recover™ can also reduce the industry’s dependence on new, resource intensive materials. In spite of their high-tech, sustainable approach, Recover™ recycled fibres are also an affordable option, which is where that democratic “For All” no doubt comes in. The company wants to upscale its production to make their recycled fibres more accessible to the typical consumer.
Like TWOTHIRDS, Recover™ believes in triggering industry-wide change. That’s why Recover™ supports the Textiles 2030 initiative, accelerating the UK’s transition to circular fashion.
How is Recover™ recycled cotton made?
Used textiles can either be a) mechanically recycled or b) chemically recycled. Mechanical recycling is generally better for the environment as it doesn’t involve any contaminating substances or water, while chemical recycling - where the textile is dissolved and respun - tends to yield better results in terms of quality. Fortunately, Recover™ has managed to get the best of both worlds by mechanically recycling to an impeccable standard! They have spent years fine-tuning their machines to be able to increase the fibre length of their products, which is a mark of their quality.
Here’s how Recover™ recycled cotton gets made:
- Textile waste and used garments are collected from all over the planet.
- All non-textile elements are removed.
- The textile scraps are then cleaned, treated with anti-static spray and shredded in a way that enhances fibre length.
- The newly produced recycled fibre is then delivered to neighbouring spinners, Hilaturas Ferre, where it is made into yarns.
- Brands like TWOTHIRDS buy that yarn to make sustainable clothing.
Recover™ have also pioneered their RColorBlend system that pairs recycled cotton with other low-impact dyed fibres to result in huge reductions of environmental impact. Dying can be an ecological nightmare, so we’re really happy that Recover™ has figured out a way to reduce the use of chemicals and water. In fact they are known for a mechanical recycling process that involves “zero overdye, zero wastewater“.
How does TWOTHIRDS use Recover™ recycled cotton?
During the RColorBlend process, Recover™ recycled cotton is paired with other materials, which are known as “carrier fibres”. This can be recycled polyester, for Recover™ styles that not only reduce textile waste, but plastic waste too. Or organic cotton, for completely natural Recover™ garments. Batches do vary, so sometimes there will be other fibres involved.
We’re pleased to say that since introducing these materials more than a year ago, we now have an increasing variety of colourful and comfortable Recover™ styles. Some of them, like the Esperance and Rosalind tops, carry our hallmark nepped look, which makes them even more distinctive. Other sustainable Recover™ styles include the Denny striped sweater for women, the Kalpati knit for men, and a bundle of super comfy striped tops!For lovers of sustainability, it really doesn’t get much better than Recover™. Due to the highly efficient process, styles made with this recycled cotton fibre are among the most environmentally friendly in TWOTHIRDS collections.