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Industry Talk

Accelerating Circularity to start US trials

Trials will demonstrate what is possible and to measure environmental savings in the textiles industry. Trials are also planned for Europe.

20th October 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  USA

Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable

© Accelerating Circularity

After extensive efforts to research, map, and identify expertise and infrastructure to accelerate the move to circular systems in textiles, Accelerating Circularity (ACP) plans to move 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.

The mission of ACP 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, thereby supporting the reduction of the industry’s environmental impacts.

“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,” commented 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,“ added Alice Hartley, Director 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.”

Product categories for US trials include denim, tees, towels, and fleece products.

Those already agreeing to participate in the trials include fabric mills 1888 Mills, Cone Mills, Contempora Fabrics and Milliken and Co, and recyclers Ambercycle, Eastman, Giotex, Lenzing, Recover and Unifi. These are joined by feedstock recyclers and suppliers CirTex, Give Back Box, Goodwill Industries of Southern Florida, Martex and Wearable Collections.

Brands participating are Gap, Inc., Kontoor Brands, Inc. and VF Corporation. Other companies taking part are TOMRA Sorting Solutions, Waste Management and Parkdale Mills.

“In Europe, we will use the same methodology and phase approach to thoroughly map, research, and then plan trials. However, where we can leverage the work done in the USA to help expedite the process, we will,” said Petra Schweiger, Accelerating Circularity European Program Manager. “We have a steering committee of leading industry players and anticipate kicking-off European trials by 1Q2022.”

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 aesthetic 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.


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