In a Nutshell: Cotton is Renewable, Recyclable and 100% Biodegradable 
Apr 4, 2017


PRESS RELEASE by Elke Hortmeyer, Director of Communications and International Relations, Bremen. 

Bremen, April 4th, 2017: With its attributes 'renewable', 'recyclable' and 'biodegradable', the Bremen Cotton Exchange sees cotton as one of the most sustainable raw materials on the planet from an ecological, social and economic point of view. 

Depending on the prevailing conditions, nature can degrade cotton residues in soil within six months, so that they are returned to the earth. The same applies to cotton fibres, which are passed into wastewater through the washing of clothes and textiles in private households and ultimately into rivers and seas. Because cotton is biodegradable, this cannot lead to any situations which endanger humans, animals or nature, as is often the case with the growing problem of microplastics in the sea. 

As an agricultural product, cotton is a renewable raw material that can be grown once or even twice, depending on the climate or region. Every part of the plant can be used: Valuable oils for the food and cosmetic industries can be produced from the seed grains. The cotton fibres are used to produce yarns and fabrics for home and household textiles, clothing, hygienic and medical products, or for their use in technical applications, e.g. lightweight construction. Non-spinnable short fibres, the linters, are processed by the paper industry, or even for spectacle frames, while animal feeds, products for soil improvement or packaging and insulation material are made from cotton residues.  Textile and clothing products made of cotton are 100% recyclable. They are sorted according to colour, enter the shredder, are crushed and can then be used as new yarns and fabrics for use in clothing and textiles. Another example of sensible recycling is the processing of cotton residues into a cellulose fibre. This is carried out in a manufacturing process similar to that of viscose. In this case, too, there is 100% biodegradability. 

We would be pleased to answer any further questions - also in an interview. 


Elke Hortmeyer, Director of Communications and International Relations 

Tel.:+49 421 3397016, Email: 3

Keshav Kranthi

Head Technical Information section ICAC


Ann Philbeck
May 22, 2018

I have bolts of cotton quilting/sewing fabric that I wont ever use. Thought about placing it in the garden with straw on top to keep weeds down. Any ideas on this would be helpful.

Terry Townsend
Feb 5, 2018

Research by Cotton Incorporated indicates that the half life of cotton fabric left on the ground outside their research facility in North Carolina is days.

M V Venugopalan
Nov 21, 2017

What is the average life span of an apparel of fabric. More precisely for how many years does carbon-di-oxide fixed as cellulose remain in the form before it is released back into soil or atmosphere.