Preferred recycled synthetic fibers are synthetic fibers that has been manufactured from materials recovered from the waste stream. When recycled material is recovered from industry or before it reaches the final consumer, it’s called pre-consumer recycled. Material collected after consumer use is post-consumer recycled material. The use of recycled materials over virgin is a great way to reduce our overall reliance on non-renewable crude oil (used to produce most virgin synthetics) and to contribute to a reduction in waste from our industry and others.

Best practice involves certification through the supply chain, for example to Textile Exchange’s Recycled Content Standard (RCS), Global Recycled Standard (GRS) or SCS Global Services’ Recycled Content Certification. While RCS focuses on content claim, the GRS provides processing criteria as well as a content claim.

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>  Material Summary: Nylon Recycled  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Summary: Polyamide 11  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Summary: Polyactic Acid  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Summary: Polyurethane •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Summary: PTT •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Summary: Polyester  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Summary: Polyester Chemically Recycled  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Summary: Rubber Recycled  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Summary: Rubber Synthetic  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Summary: Spandex •  pdf | member/paid

>  Recycled Fibers for Textile Applications  •  webinar | public

Case Study: Building Integrity – H&M (Recycled)  •  pdf | member only


Natural fibers have been recycled for many years, but the use of recycled synthetics is much newer. There is a wide variation in price and quality across a huge number of suppliers around the world. The method of recycling has a huge impact on the quality, and it’s not always easy to determine from a distance. Navigating this supply chain can be very challenging compared with the conventional polyester supply.

There is high demand for the textile industry to address the millions of pounds of clothing that has ended up in landfill. New technologies continue to emerge to bring this vision to reality. But so far, the application has been limited to small scale projects that are not yet cost-effective to implement at scale. More research, investment, and partnerships need to converge to make large scale textile-to-textile recycling a reality.

Quickly becoming a lightning rod issue through the industry, there is evidence that microfibers have been shedding from polyester clothing and making their way into the ocean, at an alarming pace and volume. The use of recycled polyester or nylon does not limit this microshedding, and may even shed at a higher rate.


>  Material Snapshot: Acrylic  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Snapshot: Chemically Recycled Polyester  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Snapshot: Nylon 6 •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Snapshot: Nylon 6,6  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Snapshot: Polyurethane Spandex  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Snapshot: Solid Polyurethane  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Snapshot: Recycled Nylon •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Snapshot: Solution Dyed Mechanically Recycled Polyester  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Snapshot: Solution Dyed Virgin Polyester   •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Snapshot: Virgin Polyester  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Snapshot: Thermoplastic Polyurethane  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Post-Consumer: The Cost and Impact of Waste  •  webinar | public

>  Post-Consumer:  How US Textile Recovery Works, Emerging Innovation  •  webinar | public

>  Post-Consumer: State and Municipal Views on Textile Waste  •  webinar | public

>  Post-Consumer: Rising Tide of Apparel and Textile Waste  •  webinar | public

>  The Secret Story of Recycled Polyester  •  webinar | public

>  Insider Series: Plastics For Change •  online | public

>  Insider Series: Ioniqa  • online | public

>  Insider Series: Thread International  • online | public

>  Insider Series: perPETual  • online | public

>  Insider Series: Gr3n-Recycling  • online | public

>  Insider Series: Aquafil  • online | public

>  Insider Series: Ecoalf  • online | public

>  Insider Series: Bolt Threads  • online | public

>  Insider Series: TIERRA  • online | public

>  How Your Clothes Are Poisoning Our Ocean  • article | external link


There are many recycled synthetic suppliers available. Find a certified supplier through the
following links. 

Find a GRS or RCS supplier

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>  Material Snapshot: Organic Cotton  •  pdf | member only

>  Material Snapshots: Cotton – China •  pdf | member only

Material Snapshots: Cotton – India  •  pdf | member only

Material Snapshots: Cotton – USA  •  pdf | member only

>  Material Snapshot: Organic Cotton  •  pdf | member only

>  Material Snapshots: Cotton – China •  pdf | member only

Material Snapshots: Cotton – India  •  pdf | member only

Material Snapshots: Cotton – USA  •  pdf | member only


Textile Exchange’s rPET Working Group started in 2016 and now has over 50 members that meet virtually each month to discuss key issues and work towards specific goals and outputs. Its goals are:

+ Increase availability of rPET.
+ Create price parity with virgin PET.
+ Making informed decisions and shaping the future of rPET
+ Better managing risk through deeper understanding of the issues related to production rPET.
+ Strengthening best practice for both commercial as well as innovative applications of rPET.
+ Access to accurate information and data.
+ Access to accurate information and data on rPET suppliers and partners.
+ Increased transparency and integrity through being part of the PFM community.
+ Collaboratively driving sustainability in the growth of the PFM in a logical direction.

Join the rPET Working Group: Materials@TextileExchange.org.


The Textile Exchange community, spearheaded by members of the rPET Working Group, are supporting a commitment to grow the use of rPET in recognition of the environmental impacts of using virgin polyester. Each brand that has signed up has agreed to at least a 25 percent increase in rPET usage by 2020. The commitment takes 2016 reported usage in the 2017 Textile Exchange PFM Benchmark Report as the baseline for growth.

Sign up now: Materials@TextileExchange.org