Dealing with Textile Waste through recycling (Refibra technology)

#dh2733, Dharmen Hariprashad

1. Sustainability problem: Textile Waste.

According to data from the Environmental Protection Agency in 2018 17 million tons of textile waste ended up in landfills and that number is rising every year. Developing technology to recycle fabrics can be one of the ways of dealing with the “big hairy problem of textile waste.

2. Technology Summary

  • Refibra technology is an innovation that was developed by The Lenzing group, a manufacturer of cellulose fibers. The technology involves upcycling cotton scraps from pre and post garment production. The cotton scraps are transformed into cotton pulp and combined with wood to create new virgin fibers. This process gives a second life to post consumer cotton scraps, which would otherwise go to landfills. This creates a true closed loop process.
  • With a shift from a linear production model to a circular economy, recyclable materials are becoming more mainstream. We are seeing a shift in customer interest for more sustainable materials. Creating new interest with brands and customers will allow the company to scale the product. Even though the Refriba technology is such a small step in dealing with such a large problem, dealing with textile waste, the company is committed to being innovative and creating more sustainable offerings.
  • The acceptance of REFIBRA technology is being adopted by various sectors of the textile industry that include apparel and home products. Some of the companies currently using the technology are Reformation, Zara, Mara Hoffman, and Patagonia. With a heightened acceptance of the technology, it can increase customer awareness on sustainability, recycling, and reducing waste.

3. Stakeholders

  • Textile and Yarn manufacturers. 
  • Brands: Expand Product offerings to new markets/ Fabric can be used for clothing and home products. 
  • End users/ Consumers

4. Deployment Strategy

  • Must be accepted by brands that will use the fiber/fabric to manufacture new products. Work with brands to test the fiber and make adjustments from the feedback. (Creating partnerships with fabric producers and brands)
  • Establish supply chain to acquire pre and post cotton scraps.
  • Collaborate with partners to raise awareness of sustainability and closed-loop designs.

Sources:

REFIBRA™: Sustainable Lyocell Production

https://www.tencel.com/refibra

https://www.roadrunnerwm.com/blog/textile-waste-environmental-crisis#:~:text=In%202018%2C%2017%20million%20tons,to%20make%20one%20cotton%20shirt.

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