Textile recycling is the method of reusing or reprocessing used clothing, fibrous material and clothing scraps from the manufacturing process. Textiles in municipal solid waste are found mainly in discarded clothing, although other sources include furniture, carpets, tires, footwear, and nondurable goods such as sheets and towels. Textile reuse is not classified as "recycling" by the United States Environmental Protection Agency because the reused garments and wiper rags re-enter the waste stream eventually, so these techniques are classified as a diversion and not recovery for recycling estimates.
Clothing and fabric generally consists of composites of cotton (biodegradable material) and synthetic plastics. The textile's composition will affect its durability and method of recycling. Fiber reclamation mills grade incoming material into type and color. The color sorting means no re-dying has to take place, saving energy and pollutants. The textiles are shredded into "shoddy" fibers and blended with other selected fibers, depending on the intended end use of the recycled yarn. The blended mixture is carded to clean and mix the fibers and spun ready for weaving or knitting. The fibers can also be compressed for mattress production. Textiles sent to the flocking industry are shredded to make filling material for car insulation, roofing felts, loudspeaker cones, panel linings and furniture padding.