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17 Best Recycled and Upcycled Clothes (2023): Leggings, Sneakers, T-shirts


You may have noticed we’re in the middle of a climate crisis, but we’re having a trash crisis as well. Trash is polluting our oceans, lining both city and rural streets, and harming animals that are trying to go about their day. We can reduce our own plastic usage, especially single-use plastics, but some companies have figured out how to turn some of that trash—mostly plastic bottles and old clothes—into new products.

This is a growing category, but these are our favorite clothes made from recycled materials that we’ve tested so far. Be sure to check out our other product guides, like the Best Recycled Bags, Best Everyday Products Made of Recycled Materials, and the Best Reusable Products.

Updated April 2023: We’ve added Parade underwear, Rothys men’s shoes, Thousand Fell sneakers, and a recommendation for Taylor Stitch.

How Plastic Becomes Thread

Most companies use “post-consumer” plastic, which means it comes from plastic that has been used and recycled. “Pre-consumer” means it comes from waste in the manufacturing process before anyone ever buys it. Plastic bottles are collected, dried, shredded, and turned into tiny pellets. Then the plastic goes through an extruder machine, which spins and pulls it like taffy to turn it into yarn. This still uses a lot of energy and resources, but it produces far less waste. Everyone needs clothes, so they might as well be more sustainable.

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