Denim is one of the most common fabrics used in today’s world. Since huge volumes of denim jeans are produced and consumed annually, the environmental concerns associated with their production are also very high. However, the increased awareness of textile recycling has paved the way for using recycled materials in denim production.
In addition, there are certain challenges and constraints that are specific to denim recycling. The collection and sorting of old jeans is a manual process and is extensively time-consuming. The trims used in the garment, like metal buttons, rivets and zippers, need to be removed with care before shredding. The labels are more difficult to remove as they are sewn onto the jeans. Often labels that are not removed are shredded along with jeans and contaminate the batch as these are made of a different material. One of the very specific features of jeans is the flat and fell inseam. These seams are thicker than regular seams and pose problems in shredding and carding. Most jeans nowadays provide a stretchable feature. The presence of elastane in the fibre content is another challenge. The colour variation in the recycled jeans creates a multicolour yarn that is difficult to dye. The recycled fibres are generally coarse due to their shorter span and hence are not comparable in quality with the virgin material.
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