WHAT IS RECYCLED COTTON?

27 Jan

Natural / Gray

So what is recycled cotton, and why are there so many new promotional products coming to market, using recycled cotton.

For this post I am going to be borrowing a lot from the Cottonworks website on recycled cotton.

Recycled cotton can be generally defined as converting cotton fabric into cotton fiber that can be reused in textile products. It is divided into two classes, Pre-consumer, and Post-consumer. I think we all understand Post-consumer. Something is made, and ends it’s useful life cycle, and is recycled. The thing that caught my eye lately are the pre-consumer recycled goods.

Pre-consumer is all the cutting, clippings, scraps, etc., that are the waste products of creating cotton goods in the first place. This is waste created at the factory level. So pre-consumer recycled cotton goods are made from cotton that would otherwise be going directly from production to garbage, without the consumer ever playing a part.

The largest volume of recycled cotton sources is produced through pre-consumer waste, such as cutting scraps. Post-consumer waste is more difficult to sort through due to various color shades, fabric blends, and it is generally a more labor-intensive process.

The Split Recycled Cotton Drawstring Bag is an example of what our industry is doing with this pre-consumer waste. The Split Recycled Cotton Drawstring Bag is made from a blend of production cotton and pre-consumer cotton. The means those cotton ‘scraps’ from production do not go to the landfill, but instead are blended into a useful product. In this case a really nice cinch style tote bag.

The Split Recycled Cotton Drawstring is made from cotton and pre-consumer cotton. This drawstring features a trendy color-block design with drawstring closure. Through a partnership with 1% For The Planet, one percent of sales of EcoSmart products will be donated to nonprofits dedicated to protecting the planet.

The Split Recycled Cotton Drawstring Bag is a good size at 16.5″ H X 14″ D, and available with a large full color imprint area from branding purposes. The bag also has a natural, slightly raw look and feels to it. However I suspect that has more to do with a purposeful design aesthetic, not to the materials used to create it. So yes, the bag screams look at me, I’m something different, maybe wholesome, maybe more ‘natural’.

Thinking about consumer perception, it is interesting that most consumers do not equate recycled with sustainable, according to a report done by Lifestyle Monitor.

Cotton Incorporated’s Lifestyle Monitor™ research shows that consumers are seeking out recycled materials, but “recycled” does not necessarily equate to “sustainable” in a consumers’ mind.1 Research shows that 24% of consumers are willing to pay more for clothing or home textiles that are labeled as “recycled”, and 32% of consumers who plan on purchasing clothing or home textiles will look for “recycled” clothing; however, only 5% of consumers believe that “sustainable” = “recycled”. Consumers place more value in clothing or products labeled as “100% cotton”, “natural”, or “environmentally-friendly”. 

In this case it may be important for the marketing professional to clearly understand the story they wish to tell with their recycled cotton promotional products.

If you are interested in these products to promote your own business, or if you wish to see some samples, email info@proformagreen.com for information and pricing.

And as always, if you really want to do something sustainable, do not buy promotional products. All products are consumption at one level or another. So if you must buy, 1) Buy local (i.e. made in USA), 2) Buy useful, long lasting items, 3) Buy sustainable/recycled/recyclable products if possible.

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