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Renewcell starts up ahead of schedule

First 100% textile-to-textile recycler to reach scale acknowledged as a significant milestone for the textile industry.

29th August 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Kristinehamn, Sweden

Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable

Renewcell started running the world’s first commercial scale 100% textile-to-textile recycling plant for the production of Circulose fibre in Kristinehamn, Sweden, on August 19th.

After several test runs of the facility using water, textile waste is now being run through sections of the process line for quality assurance and adjustments and the full process line is expected to be operational within a month.

“While our production start marks a significant milestone in the global history of textiles, it also causes me to reflect on the massive achievements made by the team that built this plant,” said the company’s CEO Patrik Lundström. “A little more than a year ago, on July 1st 2021, we had an empty building and an ambitious plan. On October 1st last year, after having adapted the site to our needs, we started erecting the plant. Now, after about ten months of hard work, the site is ready for operations – and at a cost that is about half of the cost of erecting a greenfield viscose plant.

“Thanks to the dedicated efforts of our experienced team we were able to deliver despite the pandemic, supply chain disruptions, cost inflation and geopolitical crises. The next step is a gradual process ramp-up over three-to-six months focused on capacity and product quality. In this phase, we are reassured by the stability of our Kristinehamn plant, where we have a consistent output above 90 per cent within specification.”

On April 21st this year, Renewcell was selected as the winner in the category of Sustainable Textile Innovation at the annual Drapers’ Sustainable Fashion Awards. Drapers stressed that Renewcell’s Circulose fibre is already in use by fashion brands and that the potential for positive impact on the industry is huge.

On June 8th, the Danish affordable luxury brand Ganni announced the launch of products made partly with Circulose while a strategic partnership with HeiQ to replace polyester and nylon with yarn produced with Circulose pulp was also announced in the same month, and Circulose also became the first official partner to Copenhagen Fashion Week’s Talent Support Scheme.

“We are now well positioned to accelerate and meet the ever-increasing demand for Circulose from fibre manufacturers and fashion brands, and can still conclude we are 5-7 years ahead of the competition,” said  Lundström. “We are engaged in advanced customer dialogues and see good opportunities to establish higher price levels, as well as to compensate for increases in transport and energy costs. The share issue of approximately SEK 324 million now completed enables us to start the expansion from 60,000 to 120,000 metric tons of capacity at Renewcell at least two years ahead of our original plan.”

Fashion causes somewhere between 8-10% of global CO2 emissions, along with immense negative impact on natural and human environments worldwide, he added.

“That is why Renewcell, as the first and only 100% textile-to-textile recycler to reach scale, is acknowledged as one of the most important initiatives in this industry. Innovations like our product Circulose hold the key to turning fashion from a linear model of take, make and dispose to circularity. That is why we have been able to forge strategic partnerships with leaders like Aditya Birla, Daiwabo Rayon, Ganni, H&M, Kelheim Fibres, Levi’s and Tangshan Sanyou, among others.”

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