Cellulosic fibers from textile, apparel waste poised for commercialization

Posted January 28, 2021


Several innovative start-up companies have recently made huge progress in developing cellulosic fibers derived from textile and clothing waste and some of these fibers are poised for commercialization in 2021, according to a 31-page report in Issue 207 of Textile Outlook International from the global business information company Textiles Intelligence.


Brands and retailers are under immense pressure to provide textile and apparel products that are environmentally sustainable. At the same time, there is an urgent need to reduce the amount of waste generated by the fashion industry – which is estimated at 92 million tons a year.


Making cellulosic fibers from materials derived from textile and clothing waste is one way of addressing these two key challenges – not least because such fibers are biodegradable and are therefore considered to be more environmentally sustainable than synthetic fibers and cellulosic fibers made using conventional processes. 


Furthermore, cellulosic fibers derived from textile and clothing waste can themselves be used as feedstocks in recycling processes when the textiles and garments that incorporate them have reached the ends of their useful lives, thereby contributing towards the development of a circular economy.         


Some start-up companies – such as Evrnu and Renewcell – have focused on the development of pulp derived from textile waste. This pulp can, in turn, be used as an alternative to wood pulp in the manufacture of cellulosic fibers such as lyocell and viscose.


Meanwhile, Infinited Fiber Company has developed its own “unique” cellulosic fiber that is made from cellulose derived from textile waste, and Spinnova is scaling up the manufacture of its specialist cellulosic filament fiber that is produced from pulp without the use of a dissolving process. In addition, Spinnova is conducting research into the use of textile waste and bio-based waste as feedstocks.


Some of these companies are poised to commercialize their products in 2021, representing an exciting opportunity for textile and apparel companies seeking to improve the environmental sustainability of their products. 


Indeed, cellulosic fibers derived from textile and clothing waste are attracting high commercial interest, and a number of the apparel industry’s key players – including H&M Group, Kering and Patagonia – have invested in start-ups innovating in this field. Other companies such as adidas, Bestseller, Levi Strauss & Co, PVH and Wrangler have established partnership agreements through which they are exploring the use of such fibers in the manufacture of innovative new products. 


Looking to the future, demand for cellulosic fibers – and lyocell in particular – is set for healthy growth, and so there is much opportunity for providers of cellulosic fibers derived from textile and clothing waste. Collaboration is key to bringing such products to market and, to support progress in this area, some major industry projects have been established – including the Full Circle Textiles Project: Scaling Innovations in Cellulosic Recycling, and the New Cotton Project. 


However, it should be noted that start-ups entering the market are competing with some industry heavyweights –including Asahi Kasei, Birla Cellulose, Lenzing, Sateri and Tangshan Sanyou. Consequently, they will need to keep abreast of the latest developments – notably those relating to traceability.


Consumers are demanding increasingly that materials incorporated in textile and apparel products are capable of being traced along the entire supply chain. This is considered to be particularly important in relation to fibers derived from recycled materials, and Lenzing has made major strides in this area through its use of innovative blockchain technology.


This report, “Innovations in cellulosic fibers derived from recycled textile and clothing waste,” contains 31 pages, including one table and four figures. The report is available for purchase and costs £235 in the U.K., Euro435 in Europe, the Middle East or Africa or US$570 in the Americas or Asia Pacific. 


The report was published by the global business information company Textiles Intelligence in Issue No 207 of Textile Outlook International. 


For further information about all Textiles Intelligence publications, please visit https://www.textilesintelligence.com.


Source: Textiles Intelligence

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