H&M and Puma partner to close the loop on textile fibres

Major clothing retailers H&M and Puma have joined forces with textiles innovation company Worn Again to develop a 'circular resource model' for producing polyester and cotton fibres.

The partnership aims to bring to market an innovation that will revolutionise the textiles industry by cutting the use of polyester derived from oil and providing a low impact source of raw materials for cellulosic fibres and fabrics.

Worn Again say that in 2014 the global production of polyester filament and cotton fibre was approximately 65 million tonnes. In 2020, the global demand for these fibres is estimated to reach 90 million tonnes.

Separating Blended Fibres

Worn Again’s textile-to-textile chemical recycling technology is the first to be able to separate and extract polyester and cotton from old or end-of-use clothing and textiles.

Once separated, the ‘recaptured’ polyester and cellulose from cotton will be spun into new yarn, increasing the life cycle of clothing and cutting the amount that goes to landfill.

This new technology addresses the two current barriers to textile-to-textile recycling of separating blended fibre garments, and how to separate dyes and other contaminants from polyester and cellulose.

Commercial consideration

The project aims to test the commercial viability of reclaiming fibres in this way by developing fabric and garments with the manufactured yarn, providing an effective solution to industry for the circular recycling of clothes and textiles.

“We are excited to be part of this project together with Kering and Worn Again,” H&M head of sustainability Anna Gedda said. “In the long-run this can change the way fashion is made and massively reduce the need for extracting virgin resources from our planet. Furthermore, it brings us closer to our goal of creating fashion in a circular model.

Worn Again CEO Cyndi Rhoades said, “Our technology is at the heart of a global vision which will engage all brands, textile recyclers, suppliers and consumers, in a unified ambition to keep clothing already in circulation out of landfill, and as part of a global pool of resources to be used time and time again.”

Sustainable Textiles Leader

H&M’s annual report for 2014, released last week, identified closing the loop on textile fibres as a major goal for the company. To tackle the problem of 85% of discarded clothing ending up in landfill H&M recently launched the Garment Collecting initiative where customers can drop off used clothing in-store for re-use and recycling.

The scheme aims to save raw materials as well as the water, energy and chemicals. In 2014, H&M collected 7,684 tonnes of used materials, and turned these fibres into new clothing.

Lucinda Dann

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