Recycling

Once upon a time, there was a worn wool jacket that was saved from a dumpster.

The garment ends up in a warehouse, within a mountain of used clothes. If the jacket cannot be reused, it will be deconstructed, taken to carbonization, purified from any impurities, washed, and finally reduced to fiber. Then it will go to spinning, warping, and weaving to compose a raw fabric piece. And then again washed, dried, teased, and cropped to beautify in the finishing process and ready to craft a new jacket… the wonderful journey continues. 

A widespread entrepreneurship, consisting of small companies, allowed the selection of garments to be recycled and those for the second-hand market.

Now there are also other operators around the world who do this kind of work, but the Prato district is the only one that has the experience and technology to recycle wool, cashmere, and every other type of recyclable fabric. This is a special process that allows used knits and clothes to become fiber again, mechanical wool, as it’s called in the area.

This fiber is ready to be reintroduced into the production cycle, even without undergoing the dyeing process.

For decades, used clothes from all over the world have been arriving in Prato

This is another revolutionary aspect of mechanical wool:

materials are precisely selected by color before being introduced into the industrial process to become fiber.

This approach results in colored fiber without the need for additional dyeing, sparing the environment from the impact of the dyeing process while using recycled water from the industrial purification plant located in the Prato area. Textile waste from industrial manufacturing, end-of-roll fabrics, and cut-offs are also recycled through dry tearing processes. These recycled materials are then used in various applications, such as stuffing, thermal and acoustic insulation, and much more, with ongoing research into future applications.

 

The Prato district processes over 100 million kilograms of cycles annually, both pre and post-consumption, selected and handled by local operators.

These significant numbers undoubtedly earn Prato the title of the capital of recycling and the circular economy.

Inspections are conducted using swab testing techniques.

The results of these tests are substantially negative, indicating a lack of pathogenic substances in the materials in question, thus ensuring total safety in terms of biological risk both for those working in the sector and for the end consumer. Today, many are looking to start engaging in reuse and recycling activities, but thanks to the experience, vision, and courage of entrepreneurs in the Prato area, we don’t have to invent anything; perhaps, given the opportunity, we can only improve.