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Cellulosic chemical recycling by textile industry leaders to create a closed-loop supply

Reduction of pollution in the fashion industry is one of the most sought issues for today’s world. Being one of the most pollutant industry – textile and chemical value chain – with more than 75% of wastewater discharged in the river and <40% water is treated. The good news is under the global sustainable fashion innovation platform Fashion for Good, the ‘Full Circle Textiles Project: Scaling Innovations in Cellulosic Recycling’ project will give effort to authenticate and finally scale capable technologies from a hand-picked group of innovators.

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Figure: the ‘Full Circle Textiles Project: Scaling Innovations in Cellulosic Recycling’ project will give effort to authenticate and finally scale capable technologies from a hand-picked group of innovators.

Along with names like Birla Cellulose, PVH Corp, Laudes Foundation, Kering, and Target will join hands with Fashion for Good in investigating economically feasible and scalable solutions for cellulosic chemical recycling to create a closed-loop system converting textile waste, of cotton and cotton-blend materials, to produce new man-made cellulosic fibres (MMCF).

Fashion for Good says, MMCF like viscose/rayon, lyocell, modal and cupro, are usually extracted from wood. And after polyester and cotton have the third-largest share in global fiber production. In the last 30 years, MMCF production has doubled and is projected for continued growth.

Katrin Ley, Managing Director, Fashion for Good said, “A brave approach is required to identify and scale innovations that drive sustainable change in the fashion industry. This multi-stakeholder consortium, a first-of-its-kind, addresses the most important barriers to scaling innovation, setting the precedent for all industry players with ambitions for disruptive innovation to follow.”

In an 18-month period, project partners will collaborate with innovators, Evrnu, Infinited Fiber Company, Phoenxt, Renewcell and Tyton BioSciences, to validate the potential of their technologies in this still nascent market.

Along with names like Birla Cellulose, PVH Corp, Laudes Foundation, Kering, and Target will join hands with Fashion for Good in investigating economically feasible and scalable solutions for cellulosic chemical recycling to create a closed-loop system converting textile waste

The recycled materials fashioned by four of these innovators will be converted at Birla Cellulose’s state of the art pilot plants to produce high-quality cellulosic fibers. From there, fibers will move through the project partners supply chains to be manufactured into garments.

Given that Infinited Fiber Company produces industry-ready fiber through their process, their fiber will be delivered directly to the project partner’s supply chains for garment production.

The Project will provide a valuation of the innovator’s environmental impact, technologies, recycled output and subsequent garments. These results along with the Project key learnings should determine how best to support and scale these promising solutions.

Dilip Gaur, Business Director, Birla Cellulose, Aditya Birla Group said, “The need of the hour is to co-create sustainable solutions for the fashion industry that can be scaled rapidly and economically.”

Textile cellulosic chemical recycling is a crucial focus for Fashion for Good as a crucial device in driving the fashion industry towards closed-loop production.

A systemic change towards circularity will eventually decrease the environmental impact of textile waste and potentially eradicate its need on virgin materials completely.

Furthermore, producing man-made cellulosic fibers over chemical recycling can aid preserve ancient and endangered forests. Scalable solutions in high-quality textile recycling technologies are therefore urgently needed.

The launch of this new consortium of brands, fiber producers, manufacturers and innovators is a deliberate assembling of vital stakeholders in line with key learnings recognized in the recently published report by Fashion for Good and Boston Consulting Group ‘Financing the Transformation in the Fashion Industry’.

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