Accelerating Circularity, partners to begin textile-to-textile trials

Posted October 21, 2021


Accelerating Circularity has been working to identify circular systems for textile-to-textile products for the past 18 months. The organization believes that spent textiles are too good to waste and the ever-increasing environmental impact of waste generation is too big to continue to endure. 


The mission of the Accelerating Circularity Project is to establish systems that will use the embedded value and resources in existing textiles for new products, reducing the millions of tons of textile waste annually going into landfills, and thereby supporting the reduction of the industry’s environmental impacts.


After an extensive effort to research, map and identify expertise and infrastructure to accelerate the move to circular systems, the next step is going to the trial phase in the USA to demonstrate what is possible and to measure environmental savings. Similar efforts are in the works for Europe.


“Our work has been based on collaborative efforts of the entire circular textile system, as no one company can make the changes required to develop functioning textile-to-textile circular systems,” said Accelerating Circularity founder Karla Magruder. “Having all the participants in the circular textile-to-textile system sign on is critical to our work. We have had great support of our mission by major brands and retailers and are now about to demonstrate real products made in circular systems.”  


“Fostering change is never easy and it takes a willingness to work in new ways," said Alice Hartley, director of Global Sustainability at Gap and board director of Accelerating Circularity. “We have been involved from the inception of this program, as Gap’s aim is to reimagine the way business can change the world.”


The categories of products for demonstration include denim, tees, towels, fleece products. Those already agreeing to participate in the trials include:


  • 1888 Mills (fabric mill)

  • Ambercycle (recycler)                       

  • CirTex (feedstock recycler)

  • Contempora Fabrics (fabric mill)                 

  • Eastman (recycler)                          

  • Gap, Inc. (brand)                             

  • Giotex (recycler)                             

  • Give Back Box (feedstock supplier)

  • Goodwill Industries of Southern Florida (feedstock supplier, CMT)

  • Kontoor Brands, Inc. (brand)      

  • Lenzing (recycler)

  • Martex (feedstock recycler)

  • Milliken and Co. (fabric mill)

  • Parkdale Mills (yarn producer)

  • PVH (brand)

  • Recover (recycler)

  • TOMRA Sorting Solutions (equipment supplier)

  • Unifi (recycler)

  • VF Corporation (brand)

  • Waste Management (collector)

  • Wearable Collections (feedstock supplier)


The group will announce the full participant list later this year.


“Participating in the Accelerating Circularity trials gives us insight into how a commercial circular system could work with inputs not commonly used in mechanical recycling while also connecting us to system partners that haven’t been part of our current supply chains,” said Steven Usdan, cofounder at Giotex.  


“The Accelerating Circularity Project has gathered the right stakeholders at one table to take action on circularity,” shared Tricia Carey, director of global business development at Lenzing. “As the only commercial, manmade cellulosic fiber producer in the Americas, Lenzing participated in the chemical recycling trial utilizing pulp from cotton waste and wood pulp to make TENCEL™ lyocell with REFIBRA™ technology. The successful trials to produce REFIBRA™ technology at our Mobile, Ala., production is a first step to driving regional circularity.”


Trials will showcase the ability to both mechanically and chemically recycle cotton, polyester and cotton polyester blends from post-consumer and post-industrial feedstocks that meet commercial requirements. These requirements include standard minimum order quantities, performance specifications and esthetic considerations. During the trials data will be collected on logistics, volumes of recycled content as well as any gaps and challenges within the system.


Trial goals are to identify if what currently exists can support the production of circular products and then outline the gaps that need support and development for textile-to-textile circularity to be scaled.  It’s time to put textiles to good use.


Source: Accelerating Circularity

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