We are over the moon to be working with Cotton Council International to launch a new responsible fashion initiative, Cotton Lives On™, which is being trialed for the first time in the UK where cotton clothing which is past its best is being made into roll mats for people at risk of homelessness.
We are working with fashion brands, retailers, reprocessors and bed manufacturers to prolong the life of cotton and repurpose it into something of benefit, instead of filling up landfill sites.
Stephanie Thiers-Ratcliffe from Cotton Council International highlights that “a staggering £140bn worth of clothing is sent to landfill each year. We want to significantly reduce this amount and turn the cotton into something that keeps the fibre in use for as long as possible”.
Our project lead, Kristina Bull says “the project is about extending the life of the clothing. We don’t want items that people can sell and give new life to, this project is for clothing which has holes in which really has reached the end of its use. So much goes into landfill and what we’re trying to do is make as much use out of the resource as possible by turning it into something useful.”
Launched in June, people can post their unwanted cotton items via the post office for recycling. In the autumn people will also be able to drop off their garments at brand and retailer stores across the UK. The cottons will be processed into an insulation pad which is used to make roll mats which a portion will be provided to organisations such as Shelter, Refuweegee and Single Homeless Project.
Kristina added: “It’s a really simple process and something which makes so much sense, yet each year 336,000 tonnes of clothing goes into landfill in the UK. In the same way people know to recycle plastic and glass, we want more people to know good stuff can come from their unwanted cottons and make it more mainstream for cotton clothes and textiles to be recycled.”
Inspired by a similar and successful project in the U.S., we helped develop the Cotton Lives On™ recycling programme for Cotton Council International and helped bring together fashion brands and retailers, LMB Textile Recyclers, luxury bed manufacturer Naturalmat, Shelter, Refuweegee and Single Homeless Project.
Cotton Lives On has a sister programme in the U.S. called Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green™ denim recycling program.
Vicky Ames from Single Homeless Project said:
“It’s brilliant to be part of a sustainable initiative like this that helps the planet and people experiencing homelessness at the same time. Knowing you have a safe and comfortable bed to sleep in at night means one less thing to worry about and you can focus more on what’s important to you in living a more independent and fulfilling life. Every year, we help over 10,000 Londoners to leave homelessness behind and these roll mats will certainly help us in this.”