Sweden / France – After years of searching for a solution to the worldwide problem of textile waste, pioneering start-up Worn Again joins forces with fashion retailer H&M, and luxury, sport & lifestyle Group, Kering, to bring to market a revolutionary innovation in clothing production and recycling.
n 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 be 90 million tonnes. 1 To address this, and the growing issue of clothes-to-landfill, Worn Again’s textile-to-textile chemical recycling technology is the first of its kind able to separate and extract polyester and cotton from old or end-of-use clothing and textiles. Once separated, the aim is for this unique process to enable the ‘recaptured’ polyester and cellulose from cotton to be spun into new fabric creating a ‘circular resource model’ for textiles.
This new technology addresses major barriers in textile-to-textile recycling, namely: how to separate blended fibre garments; and how to separate dyes and other contaminants from polyester and cellulose.
Announced today, Worn Again’s technology is entering the next phase of development tests. Forward-thinking global companies H&M and Kering, via its brand PUMA, will be monitoring the testing of this technology. By converting the reclaimed raw materials into yarn, developing fabric and creating garments, these tests will aim to demonstrate that the technology may be commercially viable, and may be able to provide an effective solution for the circular recycling of clothes and textiles.
The joint partnership is catalysing innovation in the apparel sector by presenting a solution to replace the use of polyester derived from oil, a non-renewable resource, and with the hope of providing a new and low impact source of raw materials for cellulosic fibres and fabrics.
“We are excited to be part of this project together with Kering and Worn Again. 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”, said Anna Gedda, Head of Sustainability at H&M.
“Innovation is what we need to solve our global environmental challenges. Our collaboration with H&M and Worn Again is a great example of this, demonstrating how we can design and deliver a solution that will be fundamental in eradicating textile waste while simultaneously offering a new type of sustainable raw material for our Sport & Lifestyle brands”, said Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of international institutional affairs at Kering.
Cyndi Rhoades, CEO of Worn Again, 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.”