Against the backdrop of a massive amount of textile and apparel fashion waste dumped in landfills or burned, circular fashion is the most discussed issue in the fashion industry. Bangladesh as a major manufacturing country for fast fashion products has been going through environmental risks over the decades. Garment factories here producing for top fast fashion brands are also creating a lot of solid waste putting enormous pressure on the ground.
Simultaneously, many factories are come up with sustainable best practices in closing the supply loop to reduce the amount of textile waste. CYCLO Recycled Fibers of Simco Spinning & Textile Ltd (Simco) is one of the pioneers in producing fiber using recycling technology from cutting waste.
Mustafain Munir, Director of CYCLO Recycled Fibers of Simco Spinning & Textile Ltd (Simco) recently share their story with the FT Research Team of Textile Today. Mustafain Munir expressed his thoughts to ensure a sustainable supply chain.
Textile Today: Kindly share with us your unique story of making recycled yarn from cutting waste?
Mustafain Munir: Basically, we started around 10 years ago. My father heard about a Spanish factory who was producing recycled yarn from cutting waste. He then thought we produce so many T-shirts in Bangladesh every year with a huge amount of leftover waste and we have an immense opportunity to do the same here. He thought it at that time when sustainability was not discussed as much as now. This process could give the manufacturers a price advantage, making use of an untapped resource.
Textile Today: Kindly share more detail on the price advantage.
Mustafain Munir: Apparel manufacturers can save 10% in FOB cost as the recycled yarn does not need any dying, thus making it economically viable. In some types of apparel products like sweaters, it can save up to 30%.
For the current world, the most important thing is environmental sustainability. In this regard, many studies done by renowned international organizations showed that this type of yarn is the most sustainable for the environment compared to recycled polyester or organic cotton. In terms of consumption of water – it saves 200 to 300 liters of per kg in dying- not to mention the energy also consumed during the dyeing process.
Let me elaborate more on that, in textiles, fiber making and dying are the most polluting stages. And this cutting waste recycling ‘CYCLO Recycled Fibers’ by SIMCO Spinning & Textile Ltd (Simco) is saving on both.
Yes, this recycled fiber has its limitations but we must educate all the stakeholders from factories to end consumers. The real trick is excelling in marketing to make the consumers’ understand what is more sustainable and we are working on this.
Textile Today: Can you share the growth percent of CYCLO Yarn to understand the awareness level of brands.
Mustafain Munir: We have grown our capacity by 60% in just the past 2 years, and plan on doubling it by 2021. However, the brands have asked we increase our capacity even faster in order to keep up with their sustainability goals. Although the overall number of apparel items claiming to be “sustainable” has gone up profoundly, it is still not a large enough percentage of the overall industry, even though it is almost all the talk. To be fair, recycled fiber cotton will not replace all organic, specifically for lighter items like T-shirts, but it will be a large enough supplement to mitigate average garment prices from going up too drastically.
Textile Today: Simco’s most of the recycled fiber is from knitwear, are you also producing from woven fabric?
Mustafain Munir: The main reason we primarily recycle knitwear is because the quality of the recycled fiber is higher. The fiber length is good enough to use in a higher percentage of recycled cotton and yarn.
But yes, we have started a new project. Recently a retailer canceled another factory’s denim order due to some distress. The retailer then approached us to attempt to recycle the goods, which we were able to do successfully after a few trials. Subsequently, that buyer ordered all their local suppliers to supply their wastage/rejects to SIMCO Spinning & Textile Ltd for recycling to CYCLO fibers which they will reuse in their new production. In the future, this type of experimenting and R&D will hopefully open new doors for recycling various items.
Overall this “closed-loop” strategy is the present and continue for the foreseeable future, however, we have to be diligent in order to overcome the impediments in the underground wastage collection business that have persisted in Bangladesh for decades. But everybody has to come forward and play their role to make an impact. Only then we can ensure a green planet for our future generation. At the same time, it will also enhance economic sustainability for apparel manufacturers.