Every year, humans generate 2.12 billion tons of garbage. 1 Fortunately, as people become more aware of the environmental consequences of garbage, recycling is increasing. Making clothes from recycled materials is a way to decrease waste in landfills and give materials like discarded plastic bottles a new purpose.
What are clothes made from recycled materials?
A wide range of clothing can be made from recycled materials, including hoodies, shirts, sweaters, trousers, workout gear and even shoes and blankets.
What recycled materials can be used for clothing?
Recycled plastic bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is the most frequently used to make fabrics like polyester, called rPET. Other recycled materials used for clothing include cashmere, cotton, leather, vegetable and fruit byproduct like pineapple leaves, nylon, rubber, wool, wood fibers and even fishing nets.
Can cashmere be recycled?
Cashmere can be recycled by sorting, shredding, and spinning post-consumer yarn from old clothes that have been thrown away. Recycled cashmere is equally as warm as traditional cashmere, yet it has an 80% lower environmental impact.  Brands like Patagonia, Stella McCartney and Eileen Fisher use recycled cashmere in their clothing.
Can cotton be recycled?
Cotton may be recycled from old discarded clothing or textile materials. The quality of recycled cotton may not be as good as fresh cotton, thus recycled cotton is usually combined with new cotton. Recycled cotton production is still low compared to new cotton.
Can leather be recycled?
Leather can be recycled from old leather pieces that come from leather tanneries and discarded leather goods. However, many fashion brands avoid recycling leather due to the difficulties of reusing old leather. There are companies which specialize in recycling high-quality leather to make new products.
Can pineapple leaves be recycled to make clothing?
Pineapple fiber can be recycled from discarded pineapple leaves and woven into textile-grade fibers, including Piñatex® used to make vegan leather. Piñatex® is biodegradable, reduces trash, and helps Filipino pineapple producers make additional revenue. The art of pineapple fiber recycling dates back to the 19th century. 
Companies like H&M and Levis use recycled pineapple leaves for apparel like outerwear and footwear.
Can nylon be recycled?
Nylon can be recycled into a regenerated fabric called Econyl, created by the Italian company Aquafil. The majority of recycled nylon comes from fabric waste discarded by weaving mills and industrial fishing nets discarded in the oceans. Recycled nylon is used to make a wide variety of products, including clothing, hosiery, lingerie and swimwear.
Can rubber be recycled?
Rubber can be recycled and is usually derived from old tires at landfills. Recycled rubber can be used in a variety of applications, from yoga mats to sneaker soles.
Can spandex be recycled?
Spandex is recycled by collecting waste discarded during manufacturing processes. 4,200 tons of recycled spandex are generated each year and diverted from landfills. 
Can wood be recycled to make clothing?
Wood cellulose, usually from eucalyptus trees, can be converted into a cellulose fiber used to make Lyocell, also known as Tencel. Lyocell is a form of rayon and often used to make activewear and swimwear.
Can wool be recycled?
Wool can be recycled from both pre-consumer and post-consumer sources, such as factory scraps and discarded clothing. It is a natural, biodegradable textile with a broad range of applications, including clothing, blankets, and the flame retardant layer in mattresses.
Patagonia, an outdoor apparel brand, states that using recycled wool has decreased their CO2e emissions by 95% when compared to virgin wool. 
How is clothing made from recycled plastic?
First, water bottles are collected and processed in recycling facilities in places like Taiwan, which has a sophisticated, well-regulated recycling program. Any part of the bottle that cannot be processed, such as the cap or ring, is removed, and the bottles are sent to a machine that breaks them down.
The plastic bottles are crushed into fine flakes. Those flakes are melted into small pellets about 3mm wide. Those pellets are melted, purified, and spun into a variety of materials, including polyester yarn called rPET. The polyester yarn is used to make a variety of clothing, including t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, and swimsuits.
What brands use recycled materials in fashion?
Patagonia is one of the largest outdoor apparel brands and uses a large number of recycled materials, including recycled cashmere, recycled nylon from fishing nets, recycled polyester, and recycled wool in hoodies, sweatshirts, and puffer jackets.
Outerknown is an athletic apparel company founded by World Surf League champion Kelly Slater and designer John Moore. The company uses recycled polyester, Econyl nylon and organic cotton to create hoodies, joggers, sweatshirts and swimwear.
Madewell specializes in denim for men and women, and uses recycled cotton, recycled wood pulp, and recycled plastic to make clothing, jackets and jeans.
Coalatree uses recycled polyester and coffee grounds to make vegan activewear hoodies and sweatshirts.
Cotopaxi creates outdoor clothing and gear using recycled polyester to create activewear, outerwear and backpacks.
6 Groceries Apparel
Groceries Apparel is an activewear brand that uses recycled polyester, coffee grounds and even vegetables to make sweatshirts, leggings and yoga pants.
7 Girlfriend Collective
Girlfriend Collective is an activewear brand that uses recycled polyester and nylon from recycled fishing nets to create non-toxic, Standard 100 certified leggings and yoga pants.
8 Sweaty Betty
Sweaty Betty creates sustainable workout clothes for women and uses recycled polyester to make dresses, sports bras, leggings, tops, sweatshirts and yoga pants.
10 Recover Brands
Recover Brands uses recycled polyester to create hoodies and sweatshirts.
11 Pure Waste
Pure Waste uses recycled cotton and recycled polyester to create hoodies.
Summersalt uses recycled polyester to make designer activewear, pajamas and swimwear.