A new project funded by the European Union aims to connect the fashion industry, utilising collaboration and technology to embrace circular fashion.
Under the ‘New Cotton Project,’ a consortium of brands, manufacturers, suppliers, innovators and research institutes will be tasked with proving that circular, sustainable fashion “is not only an ambition, but can be achieved today”.
The twelve participating fashion companies and brands include Adidas and the H&M Group, alongside Finnish biotechnology group Infinited Fiber Company, Aalto University, Fashion for Good, Frankenhuis, Inovafil, Kipas Textiles, REvolve Waste, Rise, Tekstina, and Xamk.
The 6.7-million Euro project received funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The project aims to demonstrate a commercial, circular model for garment production. Talked of as a ‘steppingstone’, the hope is to inspire an even bigger circular model in the textile industry.
To demonstrate circularity in textiles, over a three-year period textile waste will be collected, sorted and regenerated into Finnish biotechnology group Infinited Fiber Company’s unique, cellulose-based textile fibres.
The fibres will be used to create different types of fabrics for clothing that will be designed, manufactured and sold by global brand Adidas and companies in the H&M Group, explained the project in a statement.
The initiative will also include at the end-of-use, apparel take-back programmes, which will collect the clothing to determine the next phase in their lifecycle. Clothing that can no longer be worn will be returned for regeneration into new fibres, “further contributing to a circular economy in which textiles never go to waste, but are reused, recycled or regenerated into new garments instead”.
There is “high potential for circularity within the textile industry,” explains the EU, but also notes that there is “urgent need” for the development of technologies to produce and design sustainable and circular bio-based materials. Making sustainable products commonplace, reducing waste and leading global efforts on circularity are outlined in the European Commission’s EU Circular Economy Action Plan as necessary for Europe’s efforts to drive sustainable growth.
It is hoped by funding ‘New Cotton Project’ alongside a consortium of partners from Finland, Portugal, Sweden, Germany, The Netherlands, Slovenia and Turkey, it will help directly addresses what the EU calls “critical issues” while pioneering the implementation of a circular operating model for the textile industry.
The ‘New Cotton Project’ is in direct response to the fact that most of the textile industry’s environmental problems relate to the raw materials used by the industry: cotton, fossil-based fibres such as polyester, and viscose as the most common man-made cellulosic fibre, are all associated with serious environmental concerns.
It is hoped that this research initiative will offer a “valuable solution for textile waste and an alternative to the industry’s reliance on virgin materials like cotton” as the project recaptures the valuable raw materials in discarded clothing and regenerates them back into high-quality, cellulose-based fibres that can be spun into new yarn, woven into new fabric, and designed into new clothes – again and again.
The EU-funded project aims to identify solutions for potential bottlenecks to scaling-up the circular textile productions and for understanding the environmental impact of textiles over its lifespan.
Source: Fashion United
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