If the state of the planet is keeping you up at night, you might want to take a look at a new blanket from Coyuchi, a sustainable home brand based in San Francisco. It just launched the Full Circle Recycled Cotton Blanket and Throw. It looks and feels like any other blanket in the Coyuchi collection, with a heather gray color that matches the brand’s natural aesthetic—but unlike any other blanket on the market, it is made from 52% recycled cotton that Coyuchi has reclaimed from customers, along with 48% organically grown cotton.
The world of textiles—which encompasses fashion and home goods—is notoriously bad for the environment. Cotton, for instance, is a water-intensive crop that is typically sprayed with pesticides, then dyed with harsh chemicals before it’s turned into products. Since it launched in 1991, Coyuchi has been working to find more sustainable alternatives to the status quo; it uses only organically grown cotton, for instance, and nontoxic dyeing techniques.
But an even more eco-friendly approach is to use materials that already exist—such as old blankets— rather than create raw materials from scratch. Coyuchi has spent years turning this vision into reality, and the blanket is the first fruit of this labor. By using recycled cotton, this blanket saves the equivalent of 3,366 days’ worth of water, 22 miles of driving emissions, and 147 square feet of pesticides, compared to a traditional cotton blanket.
To create this blanket, Coyuchi partnered with the Renewal Workshop (TRW), a company that has become a leader in recycling fabrics. Three years ago, Coyuchi began inviting customers to send in pieces they were no longer using and, in return, receive a 15% discount on their next purchase. The returned products were then thoroughly inspected by TRW, sanitized using carbon dioxide to extract any impurities, then repaired, if necessary. At this point, more than 85% of products look as good as new and can be resold. Until now, Coyuchi has sold its renewed products at its store in Point Reyes, California. But now, customers can also purchase these items on a special new website, called Second Home Renewed by Coyuchi. “One of the key pillars of circularity is to keep products in use for as long as possible,” say Margot Lyons, Coyuchi’s production and sustainability manager. “It takes a lot of resources to make a single product, so we want it to stay in circulation until it cannot possibly be used any longer.”
Lyons says that about 15% of products that arrive at TRW can’t be resold because there are holes that can’t be repaired or stains that can’t be fixed. These products are chopped up, then respun into new yarn by a company called Recover. The recycled yarns are combined with brand-new recycled cotton yarns to create the final blanket. Lyons says that Coyuchi made the specific choice not to redye the blanket, but to allow it to retain its natural color from the recycling process. It has a speckled look, with flecks of grey and cream in it, reflecting the color of the original materials that were recycled. “This heathered look fits in nicely with the other products we sell,” says Lyons. “But I personally love that you’re able to see the original fibers that went into it.”
Lyons says that Coyuchi is particularly committed to recycling its own products, partly because the company is so careful to use organic, nontoxic materials. If it were to use other sources of recycled cotton, it couldn’t guarantee what chemicals or dyes were used to make them. “Responsible manufacturing pays off here,” says Lyons. “We can guarantee the customer that this recycled blanket is just as responsibly sourced as any of our new products.”
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