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Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Year Submitted: 2003

Process: Fabric manufacturing

Industry: Clothing

Wastes Reduced: Cotton Waste

Equipment: Cotton Picker

Location: Huntsville TX

Contact: Tony DÂ’Cunha

Phone: (409) 294-6061


Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Industrial Division generates a tremendous amount of cotton waste in the form of garment scraps, inmate uniforms, etc. These wastes are currently sold for a pittance to "free-world" vendors. Technology is currently available to convert wastes into reusable cotton fibers that can be blended with raw cotton, spun and woven into clothing material for escalating inmate populations. TDCJ investigated options of fabric reclamation. After thorough investigation of current technologies, TDCJ decided to purchase a waste fabric reclamation unit manufactured by Laroche S.A. of France.

P2 Application:

TDCJ can recycle all 100% cotton fabric wastes into reusable fibers that can be converted back into inmate clothing. Fabric wastes are returned to their natural state for the making of new garments and other products at a substantial discount. Reclaimed fabric wastes are being used for garment making, and mop string heads. Plans include using reclaimed fabric wastes for jacket insulation and fill material for items such as pillows and mattresses.

Environmental Benefits:

The project will eliminate 100% cotton fabric from reaching landfills statewide at TDCJ prison locations. Recycled fibers will be blended, opened, carded, spun and woven back into clothing for the ever increasing TDCJ inmate population.

Details of Reductions

Additional Information :

Yarn spun with 25 percent recycled fiber blends would cut the number of 500-pound cotton bales purchased yearly by one fourth. Other products such as mop string heads can be manufactured with a 50 to 60 percent blend of reclaimed fibers. Spinning yarn with a 20 to 25 percent blend of reclaimed fibers would save the system more than $1 million/year based on current prices of cotton. The estimated savings on virgin cotton purchases are $1 million per year. The capital cost of the Laroche S.A. fabric reclamation unit is approximately $500 thousand therefore, the project payback time would be 6 months. As textile production increases in response to growing inmate populations, cost savings will increase in proportion to increase in production.

Source: TCEQ

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