New life for textile cutting waste

The sewing department of Black Moda Portugal generates tens of thousands of kilos of cutting waste every year. In 2020, the amount of cutting waste in our own sewing department was about 59 000 kg. Cutting plans are always made as materially efficient as possible. Despite precise plans, the cutting of the products to be made leaves extra material that is so small that it can no longer be used in the manufacture of clothing. It is therefore a clean, unused and at the same time valuable material. That is why we started a project in 2020, as a result of which we are pleased to present products made from sideflow.

For the project, cutting waste was collected in the cutting department. A mixture of 100 % cotton and 95 % cotton and 5 % elastane was chosen as the material to be collected. Fractions of different colors were pooled. It is also possible to sort the fractions of different colors separately, so that the color of the collected batch is better reflected in the finished fabric, but at that time we did not have the opportunity to separate the colors. When enough cutting waste had accumulated, in this case almost 1 300 kg, it was transported to Spain to our partner Col & Bri for re-opening and spinning yarn and fabric weaving.

During the recycling process, the cotton fiber is shortened. Therefore, material made from recycled cotton does not meet the same quality standards as material made from virgin cotton. In spinning, polyester made from recycled plastic bottles was combined to reinforce recycled cotton. The yarn was woven in Spain to a twill fabric with a thickness of about 305 g / m2. The warp yarn of the fabric is surplus cotton from elsewhere, which is GOTS and BCI certified and this yarn was also blended with recycled polyester. In order to respect the more ecological production process, we decided not to dye or print the yarn or batch of fabric, but colour should be a natural self. The color of the finished products is slightly beige gray. The final color of the fabric is therefore derived from the color of the recycled material and the feel of the fabric is casually rough and even slightly linen-like. The shrinkage of the products is in the order of 10 %.

Re-opened material, yarn and woven fabric.

The final material pillings a little more sensitively than usual. It also affected which products were ultimately selected for manufacture. In trousers or overalls, for example, plucking would have been intense, so we chose shirts, a tunic and a dress for the production instead of the bottoms. Our partner YoungStar in Portugal made the clothes: Amalia shirt and Evelina dress for the Puuvillatehdas brand and Malia dress and Stella blouse for the Aarre brand.

The finished fabric was woven into this first batch of 389 kg and contains about 270 kg of recycled cotton. Thus, the material collected from the cutting department remained to be used for other interesting novelties. The average water consumption per kilogram of cotton is about 16 000 liters*. This utilization of recycled material saved about 270 kg of virgin cotton, resulting in water savings of 4 320 000 liters of water. With that amount of water, one Finn would wash, prepare food and flush the toilet for about 38 230 days, or almost 105 years! **

A new and interesting recycled material project has already started at a rapid pace, and we will be able to see the resulting delights later!

* 4,000 to 29,000 liters of water are needed to produce one kilogram of cotton.
Source (FI): Suomen Tekstiili ja Muoti, Tekstiilikuituopas 2021, s. 11

** The average Finn consumes about 113 liters of water a day for household use, mainly for washing, cooking and flushing toilets.
Source (FI): 19.4.2021