Whenever you come across the word yarn, it most likely relates to clothes and fashion design. But in today’s guide, we will switch our focus away from clothes and fashion design to exploring whether yarns are recyclable. Also, we will look briefly at whether yarns impact our environment.
To start with, yarns are pretty useful materials and indispensable too. Nearly all the clothes we wear today are made from yarns, cotton or other materials. But despite being a very important material for making clothes, there has been an increasing concern about its environmental impact. So it’s super important to explore yarns and their eco-friendliness.
Today’s guide will provide insights on whether you can recycle yarns. Not just that, we will also consider whether yarns affect our environment negatively and positively. Ready for all the juicy details? Read on as we break things down for you.
Is it possible to recycle yarns?
If you know anything about fabrics and how they work, you’ll agree that yarns are pretty important materials in cloth making. A close look at your closet should convince you just how important yarns are in cloth making and fashion design, as you might have a couple of clothes made from yarn.
While we know that their use is extensive and expensive, we want to investigate if they can be recycled.
For those asking whether yarns can be recycled, the simple answer is no. We know that this may sound surprising and unexpected because, from texture, they feel like wool or cotton, which are easily recyclable. Sadly, there are no two ways about it. You can’t magically toss yarn into a recycling bin and have it magically transformed into a new set of yarn.
And to be brutally honest, many recycling stations won’t even consider accepting yarns as they have excluded them from their recyclable materials.
While it might sound disappointing to learn that you can’t recycle yarn, you’ll be excited to know that there are several options you can explore to dispose of yarn. For example, you can have your yarns donated to local charities.
As we delve deeper, we will use the opportunity to explore other things you can use your old yarn for. We will also give you tips and tricks on bringing out the best in your old yarn. Read on as we consider the environmental impact of yarns.
Is Yarn Environmentally Friendly?
If you use yarns for making stylish fabrics or for other crafts, you’d have noticed that it is made from different materials, including cotton, wool, acrylic, fiber etc. But despite noticing all these materials, we are sure you haven’t stopped for a minute to consider the environmental impact of these materials.
While it’s true that yarns have their value, it’s always important to go for yarns that are made from natural fibers. We will reveal why shortly.
Having already hinted that you can’t recycle yarns, it implies that yarns hurt our environment. Beyond their immediate use, it is nearly impossible to recycle yarns. So, they typically end up in landfill, causing more environmental pollution than you imagine. Although experts like to think otherwise, it is always best to opt for environmentally friendly yarns.
Also, you’ll remember that at some point in today’s article, we mentioned that yarns are made from many materials, including natural fibers. Unfortunately, for commercial reasons, industries use acrylic as raw materials for yarn. And just so you know, acrylic is a type of plastic.
Though this may not sound bad on the surface, when you consider that acrylic requires fossil fuels, which has a negative impact on our environment, you’ll agree that it is a no-no. Besides causing air pollution, when washing acrylic yarns, there is a huge possibility of it releasing microplastic into the water, which can also result in man-made waste.
While we agree that yarns help us to achieve our fashion goals, on the flip side, they have shown that they aren’t environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, this has a lot of impact on our environment.
As we await yarn companies to produce more sustainable yarn materials that won’t impact our environment, you can play your part by reducing your use of yarns. If you have yarns you are not currently using, you can repurpose them into other items. Read on as we reveal some things you can do with your old yarns.
Is Yarn Compostable?
While we have established that yarns aren’t environmentally friendly, we are sure you’d love to know whether they are compostable. To be honest, the answer is both yes and no, which is because there are different types of yarns. While some yarns are compostable, others are not.
For instance, some yarns on the market are made from natural fiber. On the flip side, we also have synthetic yarns made from acryonile, a type of plastic.
What we are simply trying to say here is that if a yarn is made from natural fiber, then it is compostable. On the flip side, if a yarn is made from synthetic material like acryonile, composting it will cause environmental pollution, which will not only hurt our environment but also our health.
So, when it comes to acrylic yarn like nylon or polyester, please endeavor not to include them in compost heaps. Besides being difficult to break down, they will end up polluting the atmosphere.
Feel free to throw your old yarns made from natural fibers into a compost heap as they are easily broken down.
Is Yarn Biodegradable?
We often get asked whether yarns are biodegradable, and we want to use this opportunity to set the record straight. This is important, especially for people who are environmentally conscious and want to protect the environment we live in.
So to answer your question, yarns are biodegradable. We are sure this will bring a huge relief, especially after learning about their negative environmental impact. That said, it isn’t all types of yarns that are biodegradable. If you have yarn made from natural materials, then they are biodegradable.
Unfortunately, other types of yarns, especially those made from synthetic materials like acryonile are not biodegradable, hence pose a significant threat to our environment. Just to add, it takes between five months or more for natural yarns to biodegrade.
While natural yarns take a few months to biodegrade, those made from wool take much longer to biodegrade. Because of its density, yarns made from wool take nearly 50 years to degrade fully, which honestly isn’t good for the environment.
Besides wool yarns, you don’t have to be worried about your yarns taking forever to biodegrade. Within a few months, bacteria and other microorganisms should have fully broken down the yarn, releasing nutrients to the soil.
As we mentioned right from the get-go, yarns are made from different materials, including plastics. But because of how difficult they are to break down, they aren’t biodegradable. The reality is plastic takes thousands of years to biodegrade. And even when they fully break down, they tend to impact the environment negatively. Given its catastrophic environmental impact, it’s best to avoid yarns made from synthetic materials.
From what you must have read so far, you’ll agree that yarns pose serious environmental harm. And if you must use one, it’s always best to opt for natural yarns, especially because they pose fewer risks to our environment than other types of yarn.
Is there any difference between wool and yarn?
Though wool and yarn look very similar, especially because of their texture, they aren’t the same. Read on as we break down the differences between wool and yarn.
- To start with, yarn is a thread interwoven and scorned for the sole purpose of knitting fabrics or weaving. On the flip side, wool is the hair gotten from animals like sheep.
- While yarn is produced through spinning, weaving, crocheting, bonding and more, wool is only produced via spinning.
How are they similar
Aside from their differences, wool and yarn have obvious similarities. Here, check them out.
- Both yarn and wool are types of textiles.
- There are different types of yarns, including those made from wool.
- Wool and yarn are used to make different types of fabrics, including gloves, blankets, scarves, pullovers, and more.
Note: While wool and yarn tend to share some similarities, it’s important we point out that they aren’t the same thing. One thing we are sure of is that wool is a yarn type and not an alternative or an equivalent.
So the next time someone tries to confuse you about yarn and wool being the same materials, let them know the differences between them. You can even point them to this article.
Creative things to do with your old yarn
Even though yarns are not recyclable, you can do many things with old yarn. For instance, you can creatively make knitted plant hangers from old yarn. And guess what? It isn’t a hard thing to do especially if you know how to knit. And even if your knitting skills aren’t top-notch, you can simply make a stylish plant hanger to house your earthen flower pots.
We have seen some people convert their old yarns into gorgeous coat hangers, and we love how they look. So if you want to find other uses for your old yarn, you can make fancy coat hangers.
Are you tired of your old yarn and looking for something else to turn it into? Well, you can knit yourself a fancy yarn wig. If you have children, you can also make some for them. More so, you don’t need extensive knitting skills to make yarn wigs as they are easy to make.
Another way to reuse yarn is to make gorgeous tassels out of an old yarn. And guess, you don’t need a lot of yarn to make a decent tassel. All you need is a few yards of an old yarn and you’re good to go. You can even take things up a notch by making fancy garland tassels from the leftover yarns.
Other creative things you can make from an old yarn include tea bag envelopes, knitted coasters, rainbow hats and more. All you need to make the most out of an old yarn is your creativity.
In a nutshell,
When it comes to fabric making and fashion in general, yarns are indispensable. While we can hamp on the disadvantages of yarns, especially as it relates to our environment, we can’t do much to minimize their use. Companies have even found ways to make environmentally friendly yarns to encourage more use.
To play your role in protecting the world we live in, we strongly encourage you to opt for natural yarns as they are more environmentally friendly than other types of yarns. And when you no longer have use for them, you can convert them into creative pieces in your home. Also, you can donate them to charity.
Frequently asked questions
How do I get rid of my old yarns?
You can donate your old yarns to charity if you no longer have any use for them. Since yarns are not recyclable, you can also convert them to create items like household hangers, keyholders, neck scarves or more.
Does yarn have a negative environmental impact?
Because they are not biodegradable, yarns can negatively impact our environment. Even when used in landfills, they end up hurting our environment.
Are there biodegradable yarns?
While the majority of yarns are not biodegradable, manufacturers of yarns have begun producing yarns made from acrylic, which is somewhat biodegradable.