Chemical Recycling is Circular Fashion’s Future. Why Aren’t More Companies Doing It?

Sourcing Journal

Nicole Rycroft, founder and executive director of Canadian forestry nonprofit Canopy, compares current efforts to scale up fashion innovations to “being at an awkward teenage dance.”

“The producers are still trialing it, it’s a new technology, there’s the potential for a bit of a price up for brands and everyone’s kind of standing around at the edge of the room looking a bit wistfully at one another,” she said at a virtual media briefing on Thursday. “And this is a party where everybody needs to come ready to dance to really help accelerate the space.”

The party Rycroft is speaking of is the Full Circle Textiles Project, an initiative spearheaded by Amsterdam sustainability platform Fashion for Good to tackle a “new frontier in chemical recycling,” with the goal of validating and scaling a closed-loop system that transforms cotton-containing textile waste into new manmade cellulosic fibers such as rayon, viscose, lyocell, modal and cupro.

The first-of-its-kind consortium project, which enters its second, more active phase in October, is a strict no-wallflower zone, bringing together investors such as Laudes Foundation, retail bigwigs Kering, PVH Corp. and Target and supply-chain partners like Birla Cellulose, Evrnu, Infinited Fiber Company, Phoenxt, Re:newcell and Tyton BioSciences to surmount the barriers that have held back most chemical-recycling schemes at the pilot stage.

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