Recycling Cotton Waste By Putting It Back in the Soil

In a new creative trial, farmers in Gunnedah and Goondiwindi (towns in Queensland and New South Wales, Australia) have embedded shredded cotton bedsheets and clothing into their soil to recycle fiber waste and remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Of the 20 metric tons of waste buried in the ground, farmers discovered that for every 2.3 of them, 2.07 metric tons of carbon were avoided due to the fabric breaking down in the soil. This also improves crops because it decreases the nitrogen levels in the soil, potentially halting fertilizer from escaping into waterways. “We send to landfill 800,000 [metric tons] of textiles in Australia each year, and some of that will be 100 percent cotton. If they can be reused, that’s a preferable solution, but this is a preferred pathway for absolute end-of-life textiles,” says Jaine Morris, founder of the circular economy project Coreo. Learn more at Cosmos.

Image courtesy of Kimberly Vardeman/Flickr