This is how new yarn is made from old jeans

Dhe man lets the worn-out jeans from a department store brand fall into the blue bin. The bin is blue because she herself is dressed in denim. Shortly before, a woman put a pair of denim pants inside. The jeans stacked inside already fill the container to the brim. But if Barbara and Marco Rahn had their way, there could be more. Much more.

Thorsten Winter

Correspondent for the Rhein-Main-Zeitung for central Hesse and the Wetterau.

The two businessmen set up the bin in their shop on the market square in Bad Vilbel. They sell jeans as well as jackets and shirts made of denim fabrics. Conversely, they have also been accepting goods of this type for a few days without any commercial interest. “We don’t earn anything from it,” emphasizes Marco Rahn. Someone else does that, and that, in turn, he and his wife think is right. Because the collection campaign serves to recycle and spin new yarns – for jeans, of course.

Solid parts screened out by air flow

As Rahn reports, at the beginning there was the idea of ​​not just selling jeans: “We also wanted to be a collection point.” Especially since the couple is committed to sustainability. In her shop there are only goods made of organic materials or recycled textiles. The shop, called Bytemystork, was opened on December 13, 2021. The first priority was to set up the shop, select brands that match the business concept and win them over as suppliers. Also build an online shop.

The principle of the collection campaign

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collection campaign

New yarn from old jeans

In the course of internet research, Marco Rahn came across the website of the Iglu gUG from Cologne; the abbreviation gUG designates a legal form for non-profit companies. According to its own statements, Iglu not only launched a collection campaign in the spring, but also had a buyer in the Münsterland on hand. Accordingly, a recycling company in Gronau cuts and shreds the textiles, sorts out the fixed parts such as buttons, rivets and zippers as well as the leather flaps with the brand logos using an air stream. The company then runs the snippets over a spiked roller. The result is a fluffy material that is pressed into balls. Spinning mills then process these bales into new yarn.

According to a map published by Iglu on the Internet, shops in the Rhine and Ruhr areas as well as in Siegerland collect old jeans and pass them on to the people of Cologne. Frankfurt, on the other hand, is a white spot on this map. However, Soulid takes part in Darmstadt. Why? The answer comes in the form of a counter-question: how much more sustainable could jeans recycling be? In contrast to other processes, it does not remain with the use of small pieces of fabric from which patchwork parts would be made. However, the number of denim trousers sold to Soulid is still manageable. The action is not yet well known, it is said.

One problem is storage difficulties

Kohnoa had a different experience in Mainz: there were so many blue textiles that the campaign was abandoned due to a lack of storage space. “The idea is great. We would have liked to have continued.”

Barbara and Marco Rahn want to collect 1000 jeans. That amounts to a tonne of textiles, because one pair of trousers weighs about one kilogram. They found a solution with their landlord to store the bags with the pants. They are still a long way from their goal. But the statistics are encouraging: according to this, every person in Germany owns eight pairs of jeans and buys two new ones every year. In order not to overfill their closets, many consumers part with goods that are still wearable. This is also revealed by looking into the blue bin at Rahns.

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