Textile exports in India have seen tremendous growth since July, which increased by 50.86% in June 2021, even after the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, fast fashion and social media induce people to discard garments after single-use, which generates 5.7% of the solid waste streams.

The emerging global demand for sustainability has increased the value and need for textile waste recycling businesses as an eco-friendly alternative. 

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What is textile recycling?

Recovering fibre, yarn, or fabric and reprocessing the textile material into fresh products for reuse and waste reduction are part of the process of textile recycling.

Technically all fibres can be recycled, but the current rate only points one per cent, possibly because natural fibres are unfortunately harder to recycle than synthetics.

The donation, collection, sorting, and processing of textiles followed by the transportation to the end-users of used garments or recovered materials comprise the necessary steps involved in this process.  

The basis of the textile recycling industry is the textile industry that has globally emerged as a trillion-dollar industry.

Other than reducing the fresh raw material consumption, it has secondary benefits such as low energy consumption, decreased air and water pollution, etc.

Choice of textile business

Based on how the textile waste is processed, there are three choices for the type of textile business to choose from before going for a suitable textile business loan: 

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Mechanical textile recycling business

The minimal amount of research and development required for this process makes it the easiest and most common option. To ensure profitable upcycling, choosing the suitable kind of machine based on the absolute requirement becomes imperative.

Garnett machinery would be the ideal choice for making downcycled fibres for making rags, carpets, fillings, or insulating materials.

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Panipat, Haryana houses a giant recycling hub that utilizes such machines to make downcycled recycled products. There are very few conditions in waste requirements and, any textile waste could be run on the machine since the purpose of these machines is to downgrade the waste.

The shoddy fibres released as the output can then be used to make coarser yarns, rags, carpets, insulating materials, filling materials, etc., upon mixing with some other fibres.

You should purchase machines with different production capacities as per the scale of the business. Given a continuous supply of raw material, the amount of output that the machine can produce in fibres is expressed in kg/hr.

Another factor to consider while equipment financing is the quality of fibres since poor-quality fibres cannot be processed to finer yarn and decrease the value of reprocessed fibres. 

Chemical textile recycling business

Before you plan for the chemical textile recycling business or explore different textile business loans, acknowledge that it demands active knowledge of textile materials and chemistry. Most of the technology suited to this method are either in various testing stages or under-development. 

The fundamental should be to convert the fibre to the new without downgrading the recycled product through a chemical process that would differentiate and extract fibres from blends. 

Huge investments and partnerships from giant apparel companies, academic institutions, etc., are essential since most of the work is based on research and development.

But you do not have to be overwhelmed by the figures since there is easy credit available through facilities like Ziploan who can process your requirement within three days and hassle-free. 

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Garment upcycling and garment recycling business

The garment upscaling/recycling business takes in post-consumer goods to convert them through reconstructing and redesigning into valuable products such as fashionable apparel, accessories, home decors, etc.

Since it is feasible enough to be done through boutique shops, online brands, social enterprises, cooperative with NGOs, etc., this business is the easiest to set up and demands minimal investment costs.

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A skilled workforce is a must to establish this business as each waste is unique, and an individual should be able to visualize new items from the available waste itself. Also, consider investing in different sewing machines that can help in creating unique products. 

Therefore there has to be a thorough study of the recycling market to estimate the product price, requirements, etc., to determine your textile business loan requirement.

The main end goal for this business is focused on becoming recognized as a sustainable, conscious brand while challenging the clothing industry.

Cost of setting up a textile business

Any business planning or idea is incomplete without considering the cost and estimated financial requirements. How much you would need as a start is determined by your scale of operation.

Along with that, calculate the cost of collecting the old textiles and transporting them for sale, recycling units, recycling plant, and wages for a minimum of five employees.

You may consider a textile business loan to fuel the establishment of your business. 

These would be the general expenses for a micro recycling plant and, it may be costlier to set up a plant from scratch. However, you can offset some costs by working collaboratively with the local community or applying for easy loans such as CGTMSE schemes.

The startup capital and working capital need to be in place. The setting up process can consume up to 5 to 10 lakh rupees in India, excluding machinery.  

What to keep in mind while establishing the business

  1. Seek technical advice from experienced professionals and active textile recyclers. 
  2. Understand the demand and different types of the market to an above-average degree. 
  3. Famarilse with current prices of different textiles and identify the competitor in your community and their business practice. 
  4. Look for cost-efficient ways to source and carry out deep financial planning to determine your source of working capital. That could be from personal savings, asset conversion, or textile business loans you can easily avail of from ZipLoan with no prepayment charges and basic eligibility criteria. 
  5. Identify and locate your buyers to scale quickly by drawing out how to reach them.
  6. Plan for a cost-effective supply source, consider the available schemes such as CGTMSE, and how you will transport the raw materials to your plant.
  7. Maintain sound and regular accounts to stay afloat and track your cash flow, EMI on your textile business loan if you have, and expenses for every period. 
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Keep yourself updated with the latest market trends, government regulations, prices of recycled fabrics, new equipment financing methods, and environmental developments.

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Textile Waste Recycling – FAQs

What can textiles be recycled into?

What are specific textiles recycled into? Here are a few examples: Stuffed toys and pillows become car seat stuffing and automobile insulation. T-shirts, sheets, towels, and clothing become wiping cloths.

How much textile waste is recycled?

15.6% of clothes and shoes thrown away in the US end up being recycled – while average India throws away 37kg of clothes every year. 12% of the material used for clothing ends up being recycled.

What is textile waste recycling?

Textile recycling is the process of recovering fiber, yarn, or fabric and reprocessing the textile material into useful products. Textile waste products are gathered from different sources and are then sorted and processed depending on their condition, composition, and resale value.

Why is textile recycling important

Every piece of clothing you’re wearing has gone through a complex manufacturing process that uses a high amount of electricity, water, and other energy sources. Recycling clothes saves energy by reducing or eliminating the need to make materials from scratch.

Where does the textile waste go?

Their fate is not so pretty. Globally, 80% of discarded textiles are doomed for landfill or incineration. Only 20% are actually reused or recycled. The clothing that ends up in landfills can sit there for 200-plus years, and as it decomposes, it emits methane—a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon.

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