Waste and pollution from the production of textiles and clothing have become critical global issues. With only one percent of fibres being recycled, the current ‘linear’ model is outdated and unsustainable. There is an urgent need for a strategy to transform industry into a circular model. A new report launched by Ecopreneur.eu, the European Sustainable Business Federation, calls for decisive policy measures to create an enabling framework.
You are here
Textiles, apparel and leather
Rifò regenerates noble textile fibers, such as cashmere, using a proven technology developed in the textile district of Prato (Tuscany) over a hundred years ago.
3SIXTY upcycled end of life, single use plastic bottles and ocean waste into towels for the hotel industry.
MaterialDistrict is a unique platform for innovative materials which empowers global innovation by match-making material needs with material solutions in the name of circularity. R&D and design professionals of all industrial sectors use this platform to discover new material solutions daily via MaterialDistrict's independent collection of materials, annually at MaterialDistrict Rotterdam and periodically throughout the year with travelling MaterialDistrict Expo, MaterialDistrict Talks and MaterialDistrict Pop-Up events.
MaterialDistrict Rotterdam 2019 is the leading event for R&D and design professionals within six sectors, including textiles and fabrics. Circularity is among the priority themes to be treated.
SK-Tex takes old clothing and turns it into products that can be used in cars, furniture and buildings. The company has been in operation since 1998, beginning as a textile raw materials trading company before developing into a recycling company.
DyeCoo, based in Weesp, the Netherlands, has more than 15 years of experience in CO₂-based textile processing technology. By replacing water with CO₂ for the dyeing process, no wastewater is generated. Furthermore, DyCoo uses reclaimed CO₂ from existing idustrial processes, making it a closed loop operation.
The Polish Circular Hotspot is a public-private platform bringing together national and local government bodies with businesses, entrepreneurs, the scientific community and civil society to jointly develop and apply the concept of a circular economy in Poland.
The hotspot has begun the following activities to develop and implement circular innovations:
organising events (sectoral, regional, national) to analyse specific problems and legislative issues such as workshops on circular procurement for public agencies
assisting with drafting strategies and roadmaps while supporting the establishment of sectoral partnerships for practical circular solutions
networking businesses to exchange knowledge, showcase innovations and connecting Polish entrepreneurs with partners abroad, e.g. through study visits and B2B monitoring sessions with the support of the Dutch, Swedish, German, French and Danish Embassies.
educating those interested in the circular economy concept, for example by organising the national educational campaign ‘Polish Circular Week’
Becoming a member of the Polish Circular Hotspot enables you to work with Polish and foreign partners in building innovative solutions and exchanging best practice across sectors. The hotspot also provides its members with opportunities to shape the debate on emerging circular economy legislation and collaborate in funding projects through partnerships.
Orange Fiber has closed the loop for oranges by patenting a technique to squeeze orange peel and citrus waste into cellulose fibre. With growing demand for sustainable fashion, the company is well placed to commence production in 2019, having already prototyped a collection with Salvatore Ferragamo and won the Global Change Awars
Verdura Shoes and Sandals are eco friendly.
Made in Tuscany with recycled/vegan materials by master shoemaker Andrea Verdura.
CIRCULAR BRANDS is a pioneering program designed to empower the top brands in NL to make circular brand and business innovation reality. Register for the next workshop in Amsterdam on September 20th - there's place for 6 more brand teams to join and accelerate their transformation in becoming circular brand leaders, creating business growth and positive impact by driving the circular economy culture.
Van Hulley is a Dutch SME that upcycles worn-out shirts into boxershorts, employing disadvantaged women as seamstresses every year and training them to join the labour market more permanently.
Infinited Fiber has developed a process technology that can turn cotton rich textile waste into new fibers for the textile industry. Not just once, but infinitely. Infinited Fiber can be recycled again and again without decreasing the quality of the fiber.
The Relooping Fashion Initiative (2015-2017) was aimed at piloting and modelling the circular business ecosystem for textiles. This report covers the business ecosystem modelling work and introduces the project team’s crystallized vision of a higher-level system that enables the textiles industry to operate according to the basic principles of a circular economy.
The focus of the report is on explaining the principles of a circular economy in the context of textiles, and drawing a picture of the key material flows and types of actors along the value cycles from end-user back to end-user. The overall goal is to maintain the value of materials as high as possible, with minimum environmental impact. The different circular business models for textiles are introduced along the value cycles. The report covers 1) repair and maintenance, 2) re-use as product, 3) re-use as material, and 4) recycling-related activities, and business models for post-consumer/user textiles along the entire value chain.
All these processes need to work seamlessly together for the circular business ecosystem to function effectively. New recycling technologies are crucial to solving the global textile waste problem, and to be able to replace some of the virgin materials such as cotton with recycled textile materials. The report also discusses the topic of shared value creation in the circular economy context.
ShareWear, a part of the Swedish Democreativity initiative, was launched to inspire a sustainable way to be fashionable. A ready-to-share collection with Swedish fashion items allowed consumers to borrow unique clothing - but only if they shared it forward.
CelluTex is a Swedish advocacy platform that promotes needed actions to ensure production of cellulose-based textiles in Europe, utilizing forest resources and recycled cellulosic textiles, including cotton, as raw materials.
Re:newcell's technology dissolves used cotton and other natural fibers into a new, biodegradable raw material, re:newcell pulp. It can be turned into textile fiber, be fed into the textile production cycle and meet industry specifications. This is the link that has been missing from the cycle, as the way fashion is produced and consumed can finally be transformed into a never-ending loop.
Zippers and buttons make garment recycling complicated as the removal of such details calls for manual assistance, making the process both costly and time consuming. Resortecs® solves this problem by supplying a thread that simply dissolves at a high temperature.
The ECOALF foundation has embarked upon its most ambitious project to date: Upcycling the Oceans, an unprecedented worldwide adventure that is helping to remove up to 200 tonnes of waste from the bottom of the oceans thanks to the support of over 3000 fishermen.
Klättermusen is a Swedish outdoor clothing company producing waterproof jackets, pants and backpacks made at least partly from recycled polyamide. The polyamide is created from post-industrial waste including packaging materials from factories, old carpets as well as discarded industrial fishing nets.
ECOALF is a Spanish fashion company with a sustainable profile. ECOALF makes swimwear from 100 % recycled fabrics made from PET and recycled polyester.
Andrea Verdura uses different eco-friendly materials to craft stylish, comfortable footwear for women, men and kids. One of the materials used in the footwear are recycled fishing nets.
Raubersachen (robbers' loot in German) applies the concept of product-as-a-service to baby clothes, providing parents with a ecological woollen alternatives by refurbishing disposed baby and toddler clothes and renting these out, thus reducing the amount of cheap, low-quality products being bought and keeping baby clothes in circulation far longer.
Textiles waste is relatively small in terms of weight as compared to other waste streams, but it has a large impact on human health and environment, and its rate is increasing due to the ‘fast fashion’ model. In this paper, the authors examine the French national programme for managing post-consumer textiles and clothing through a case study research.
France is the only country in the world implementing an extended producer responsibility (EPR) policy for end-of-use clothing, linen and shoes. The case highlights the benefits of using an EPR policy and provides interesting insights about the challenges faced by the textiles waste sector. For instance, the EPR policy has contributed to a threefold increase in the collection and recycling rates of post-consumer textiles since 2006. In addition, the material recovery rate of the post-consumer textiles can reach 90%, 50% of which can be directly reused. However, the ‘reuse’ stream is facing some challenges because its main market is in Africa and many African countries are considering banning the import of used textiles to encourage a competitive textiles industry locally and internationally.
The EPR policy shows a great potential to identify new markets for ‘reuse’ and to improve the textiles waste sector. Such an EPR policy also could drive societies to financially support innovation and research to provide feasible solutions for fashion producers to adopt eco-design and design for recycling practices. This paper provides guidance for policy makers, shareholders, researchers and practitioners interested in diverting post-consumer textiles and clothing waste from landfills and promoting circular textiles transition.