Recycled Cotton in Home Textiles: All you need to know

Consumers in this era are becoming more conscious of the “go green” concept; this is quite evident in the textile industry as well. Recycled cotton is the latest at gaining demand in the industry for this reason. Let’s have a look at the technicalities of recycled cotton.

What is Yarn?

Essentially, a yarn is a strand of natural or man made fibres that have been twisted or grouped together for use in weaving, knitting, or other methods of constructing textile fabrics.

Production of Yarn

Yarns can be produced in different counts (sizes) and texture, and generally vary in characteristics too. Performance and end use of fabrics are affected by these yarn characteristics.

How is yarn recycled into fabric?

In the textile industry, textile waste has to be differentiated between pre-consumer and post-consumer waste.  Fibre and Yarn waste falls into former , whereas used bed sheets/textiles fall into the latter category.

The process of recycling is as follows:

  • Incoming material is graded into type and colour (care is taken to ensure the source of the incoming material is safe from contaminants)
  • The textiles are shredded and blended with other selected fibres of similar colour, depending on the intended use of the recycled yarn. Typically recycled cotton yarns are blended in a mix consisting of ~20% polyester yarn, to provide additional strength to the resulting fabric
  • The blended mixture is cleaned and bleached if necessary

Since recycled cotton is made by reusing yarns from existing textiles, rather than being dyed specifically for the purpose, there is typically a colour limitation for recycled cotton products. You can refer to the types of colours available at this handy recycled yarn colour chart.



These colourful, coarse recycled cotton yarns are made from loose ends of cotton fabrics collected from industrial mills across India that are hand spun into yarn. They are specifically meant to give a coarse look. Finer, cleaner recycled cotton yarn is also now used by us.

Recycled Cotton on Home textiles

Recycled Cotton is now being made in counts such that the end consumer will not even be able to distinguish between conventional 100% cotton products and recycled cotton products. This is a great opportunity to not only buy “green”, but also can provide massive cost savings, because recycled cotton is typically cheaper than conventional cotton. For some dyed products, the savings can be as high as 15-20% over 100% cotton products.

Below are a few products which are made with recycled cotton. As you can see, these don’t give any indication of being recycled or of containing polyester.

Ribbed Placemat - Recycled Cotton




Source: Suraaj Linens products