Humans are creating trash at an unprecedented rate. If we keep up this pace, there will be more trash on the planet than anything else.

Sustainable clothing brands are coming up with ways to reduce trash by reusing what we’ve already dumped into landfills and oceans. Companies that create new products from recycled materials are known as “closed loop production systems”. This means that previously used items are recycled and repurposed over and over again to create new items.

Why are hoodies made from recycled materials?

Polyester is particularly polluting because it is made from melted down PET plastic pellets. Unfortunately, polyester is also widely used to make hoodies.

According to the UN Environment Program, 380 million tons of plastic are produced each year and one million plastic bottles are purchased around the world each minute. If we keep up this pace, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

The clothing industry is working to alleviate this problem by using recycled polyester derived from PET plastic to create new clothing – called rPET. This fabric is created by gathering plastic bottles (typically from the ocean), and reusing these pellets to create polyester fiber.

Creating clothing from recycled materials is also more energy efficient. According to the clothing brand Pure Waste, hoodies made from discarded and/or recycled materials use an average of 99% less water and 50% fewer CO2 emissions. [1]

In this article we explore sustainable clothing brands that are using a beloved fashion staple – the iconic hoodie – as a vehicle for recycling.  We delve into innovative ways people are creating cool new hoodies made from recycled materials.

List of hoodies made from recycled materials

Disclaimer: We use affiliate links on some products and sometimes receive a small commission on purchases. We never link to Amazon.

Product Recycled Content
Coalatree Evolution 60% recycled polyester, 40% coffee grounds – Each hoodie contains 3 cups coffee grounds and 10 plastic bottles
Tentree 40% recycled polyester
Richer Poorer Recycled polyester – each hoodie is comprised of approximately 40 plastic bottles from landfills
Pure Waste 60% recycled cotton, 40% recycled polyester, excess knitting yarn used to make drawstrings
Recover Brands 100% recycled content – 50% recycled polyester from post-consumer PET and 50% up-cycled cotton
Plant Faced Clothing 15% recycled polyester
CotoPaxi Recycled polyester
Patagonia Recycled polyester, recycled cashmere, Nano Puff® 100% recycled PrimaLoft® Insulation with P.U.R.E™ textile
Pangaia Recycled organic fabrics
Picture Organic Clothing Recycled polyester
Zen Threads Eco fleece is a tri-blend fabric made from recycled polyester (rPET) from plastic bottles, organic cotton and other organic materials

 


Coalatree Evolution Hoodie

Coalatree Pullover Hoodie

  • Headquarters: United States
  • Recycled Materials: 60% recycled PET plastic, 40% recycled coffee grounds, discarded yarn.
  • Certifications: Clothing is produced in BlueSign approved responsible and sustainable manufacturing facilities
  • Vegan: Yes
  • Responsible Packaging: Clothing hangtags and packaging for shipments are printed on post-consumer waste recycled paper.
  • Sustainability: Coalatree employs a closed loop CO2 vapor system to reuse stored CO2 and reduce water waste in the dyeing process. They also partner with factories that use energy efficient ventilation, and solar lighting.

Tentree Hoodies

Tentree Hoodie

 

  • Headquarters: Canada
  • Manufacturing Locations: China, India, Bangladesh, Poland, and Vietnam
  • Recycled Materials: Hoodies made from a combination of organic cotton, recycled polyester from PET plastic, wood-based TENCEL™ Lyocell and elastane
  • Certifications: Certified B Corp.
  • Vegan: Yes
  • Responsible Packaging: The company has eliminated single use packaging, uses FSC certified and 100% recycled paper for tags and inserts, 100% recycled mailers and 100% post-consumer recycled, biodegradable plastic to protect clothing during transit. BDP is added to the plastic to ensure it biodegrades within 2-3 years after disposal. [3]
  • Sustainability: TenTree plants a tree for every product purchased. Their hoodies also use an average of 75% less water to produce. Customers can also purchase an “Offset Package”, which funds initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions.

RicherPoorer

Richer Poorer Hoodie

  • Headquarters: California, United States
  • Manufacturing Locations: Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Guatemala, Peru, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, United States.
  • Recycled Materials: 60% Cotton, 40% Recycled Polyester – each hoodie is comprised of approximately 40 plastic bottles from landfills.
  • Vegan: Yes

Pure Waste

Pure Waste Zip Hoodie

  • Headquarters: Finland
  • Manufacturing Locations: Bangladesh, Estonia, Finland, India.
  • Recycled Materials: Recycled cotton, recycled plastic bottles, excess knitting yarn used to make drawstrings.
  • Certifications: Fair Trade Certified, Certified B Corp., Amfori Business Social Compliance Initiative and Supplier Ethical Data Exchange certifications.
  • Responsible Packaging: Yes, 90% of their products are shipped in reusable RePack packages [4]
  • Sustainability: Pure Waste only uses 100% recycled fabrics that would otherwise end up in landfills, 90% of the energy used to power their factory comes from wind power.
  • Fair Trade: They are 100% compliant with local and international labor laws, do not employ any underage workers, and offer voluntary paid overtime. Their supply chain is BSCI-audited (Business Social Compliance Initiative), which verifies that fair trade labor policies are enforced.

Recover Brands

Recover Recycled Hoodie Pullover

  • Headquarters: Charleston, North Carolina
  • Manufacturing Locations: Produced in North Carolina, supply chain for organic cotton is located in Guatemala and Haiti.
  • Recycled Materials: Fabric made from recycled PET recycled plastic and up-cycled cotton.
  • Vegan: Yes
  • Sustainability: In order reduce CO2 emissions, Recover sources their recycled PET plastic from within 150 miles of their Charlotte warehouse. Their optimized manufacturing process achieves 66% less energy consumption, 35% less greenhouse gas emissions,  and 55% less water consumption. The company also founded the non-profit “Protect Our Parks” to inspire people to cherish and conserve parks and forests.
  • Fair Trade: The entire supply chain is US based to ensure that basic labor laws are upheld, including minimum wage, safe working environments and hourly work day limits. Recover helps fund co-ops and organizations that create ethical jobs, provide educational opportunities for girls and women, and pay workers living wages.

Plant Faced Clothing

ILLUSIONS HOODIE - STOP EATING ANIMA

  • Headquarters: United Kingdom
  • Recycled Materials: Hoodies made from 85% organic cotton and 15% recycled PET plastic, with water based, non-toxic dyes.
  • Certifications: Fair Wear Foundation, WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production), Global Organic Textile Standard, OEKO-TEX® Non-Toxic Textiles
  • Vegan: Yes
  • Responsible Packaging: Products are shipped in 100% recycled kraft paper and printed with water-based inks.
  • Sustainability: Plant Faced Clothing plants a tree for every item purchased.
  • Fair Trade: They state on their website that “nearly 100% of clothing is manufactured in Fair Wear or WRAP certified facilities.”

Cotopaxi

Cotopaxi Pullover Hoodie

  • Headquarters: United States
  • Manufacturing Locations: Cambodia, China, India, Phillipines
  • Materials: Recycled polyester.
  • Certifications: Fair Trade Certified, Certified B Corp., Climate Neutral Certified
  • Vegan: No, the company uses sustainably sourced llama wool.
  • Sustainability: Cotopaxi donates 1% of its revenue each year to a non-profit working to improve the quality of life and alleviate property for specific groups of people. Past funds have included working to eradicate Malaria in Latin America to providing small business loans for Columbian and Venezuelan refugees.
  • Fair Trade: As stated on their website “Each one of our factories agrees to a rigorous code of conduct, completes an audit or relevant certification, and agrees to help promote fair labor practices.”

Patagonia

Recycled Hoodies by Patagonia

  • Headquarters: United States
  • Manufacturing Locations: China, Colombia, India, Japan, Nicaragua, Phillipines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, United States.
  • Recycled Materials: Recycled polyester, recycled cashmere, Nano Puff® 100% recycled PrimaLoft® Insulation with P.U.R.E™ textile. Recycled content helps to reduce Patagonia’s CO2 emissions by 510,000 pounds per year.
  • Certifications: Remake Approved, Global Organic Textile Standard, B Corp, Fair Trade Certified, Open Apparel Registry.
  • Responsible Packaging: Patagonia uses 100% recyclable materials for packaging and shipping, and bans the user of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), BPA (Bisphenol A), DMF (Dimethyl fumarate), Hexavalent chromium and PLA (polylactic acid) and any materials containing GMO feedstock.
  • Sustainability: Patagonia has a self-imposed 1% tax for the Planet to support environmental nonprofits. As of 2020, the company consumes 100% renewable electricity in the United States and 76 percent globally. By 2025 Patagonia plans to be a zero-waste-to-landfill company.

Pangaia

Pangaia Sustainable Hoodies

  • Headquarters: Germany
  • Manufacturing Locations: Portugal, Italy, Turkey
  • Recycled Materials: Organic fabrics
  • Certifications: Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
  • Vegan: Yes
  • Fair Trade: The company’s production is in the European Union and has a Code of Conduct that includes some of the ILO Four Fundamental Freedoms. Suppliers are required to adhere to the Pangaia code of conduct and Modern Slavery Act policy regarding the treatment of workers.

Picture Organic Clothing

Picture Organic Clothing Esme Hoodie

  • Headquarters: France
  • Manufacturing Locations: The company produces 84% of their products from 2 factories – one in China and one in Turkey. They have worked with the same factories since 2008.
  • Recycled Materials: 100% recycled, organic or ethically sourced materials.
  • Certifications: B Corp., Fair Wear Foundation
  • Vegan: Yes
  • Fair Trade:  The founders regularly visits their warehouse facilities, and workplace safety is evaluated by third party organizations.

Colorful Standard

Colorful Standard Hoodie

  • Headquarters: Denmark
  • Manufacturing Locations: Portugal
  • Recycled Materials: Environmentally Friendly Dyes and 100% organic cotton.
  • Certifications: OEKO-TEX® Non-Toxic Textiles
  • Vegan: No, the company uses Merino Wool in some products.
  • Fair Trade: The company’s entire workforce, including factories, operate under European Union Labour Law, which ensures a high level of workplace safety and that all employees receive a living wage.

Honest Basics

Honest Basics Women's Crew Neck Sweater

  • Headquarters: Germany
  • Manufacturing Locations: Bangladesh and India through their own sustainable production agency: the Honest Agency.
  • Recycled Materials: Organic, vegan fabrics
  • Responsible Packaging: Products shipped in either plastic free containers or using recycled plastic.
  • Certifications: Global Organic Textile Standard
  • Vegan: Yes, certified by PETA
  • Fair Trade: The company employs equitable labor practices and ensures all receive a living wage. The company verifies that they regularly audit their supply chain partners.

Zen Threads

Zen Threads Eco Fleece Hoodie

  • Headquarters: California, United States
  • Manufacturing Locations: Sacramento, California
  • Recycled Materials: Eco fleece is a tri-blend fabric made from recycled and organic materials, including cotton and polyester.
  • Certifications: Global Organic Textile Standard
  • Vegan: Yes as stated on their website.
  • Sustainability: The company hand crafts all its products, and uses non-toxic, eco, water-based inks that are safe for the environment.
  • Fair Trade: Zen Studios adheres to US and California laws regarding labor, wages and workplace safety.

Final Thoughts

Fair Trade Finder provides recommendations on everything from workout gear made from recycled plastic to mittens made from recycled sweaters. While these efforts are not nearly enough to solve the problem (that will require humans to stop creating new plastic), they are positive trends which at a minimum do not create additional trash.

As we continuously create new products, we simultaneously throw away old products no longer deemed useful. However, a lot of what we consider to be trash can actually be recycled and reused to create brand new products. This both reduces the volume of trash entering our environment while also satisfying the need to consume.

Innovative companies are employing a variety of techniques to offset the negative consequences of fast fashion. Sustainable fashion companies are recycling plastic bottles, cotton, fleece, discarded bicycle inner tubes, insulation and fishing nets into textile materials like polyester and rubber, and using organic waste like apple, mushroom, pineapple and cork to create alternatives to animal-based leather and suede.

In many ways, this is a key component to sustainable living, as the fundamental goal is to consume trash to create new products, thereby decreasing the environmental impact of production and consumption. [2]