Lenzing’s circularity efforts are getting a boost and recently signed the Dutch Denim Deal, a public-private initiative that calls for a new industry standard to use 5 percent post-consumer recycled (PCR) cotton in the production of all denim clothing.
The deal was originally initiated by the House of Denim Foundation in Amsterdam and later supported by the Dutch government. It was signed in October 2020 by the entire denim industry and some municipal stakeholders in the Amsterdam metropolitan area following the EU Green Deal and the Circular Action Plan, and the brand side includes more than 40 signatories such as PVH Europe, Scotch & Soda and Kings of Indigo, as well as Calik Denim, Mud Jeans, Bossa, AGI Denim, Kipas, Ereks and Recover from the supply chain.
The initiative also includes a goal to produce 3 million pairs of jeans by 2023 using 20 percent post-consumer recycled cotton—brand owners and retailers will achieve a minimum of 5% PCR content in their own denim collections by this time, which seems much difficult. Lenzing’s participation will help bring the initiative closer to its goal.
Lenzing is a raw material supplier ready to help other companies reach this goal. In 2017 Lenzing pioneered TENCEL™ lyocell with REFIBRA™ technology, which is now produced with 30% post-industry and post-consumer cotton waste and 70% wood pulp. A Fiber ID has also been added to ensure traceability and transparency.
According to former State Secretary Van Veldhoven, the strength of this Denim Deal lies in the fact that all parties involved in the production and processing of denim garments will participate, manufacturing companies, brands and retailers, but also collectors, sorters, cutters and weavers. “We are initiating a change in the entire chain. Once that step has been taken, scaling up will be easier afterwards. That will make this Denim Deal a blueprint for making garments made from other materials more sustainable,” she added.
The Netherlands has become a hot spot for denim, with brands based in the country and a strong customer base. Dutch consumers purchase an average of 1.2 pairs of jeans per year, with 21 million pairs sold nationwide. The Dutch Denim Deal calls for circular solutions to reduce the pressure on natural resources tied to cotton production, setting an example for the rest of the world of what is possible in circularity.