High-street fashion business H&M has joined forces with luxury, sport and lifestyle group Kering to jointly develop clothing-recycling innovation.
The two companies will be supported by textile-waste start-up Worn Again which has been developing textile-to-textile chemical recycling technology designed to separate and extract polyester and cotton from old or end-of-use clothing and textiles.
Worn Again’s technology enables the ‘recaptured’ polyester and cellulose from cotton to be spun into new fabric creating a ‘circular resource model’ for textiles. It 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.
The new collaboration with H&M and Kering, via its Puma brand, will support a new testing and monitoring phase for the technology.
By converting the reclaimed raw materials into yarn, developing fabric and creating garments, the tests will aim to demonstrate that the technology is commercially viable.
“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,” said Worn Again’s CEO, Cyndi Rhoades.
The aim is to give the apparel sector a solution to replace the use of polyester derived from oil – a non-renewable resource – and offer a new, low-impact source of raw materials for cellulosic fibres and fabrics.
“In the long-run this can change the way fashion is made and massively reduce the need for extracting virgin resources from our planet,” said Anna Gedda, H&M’s head of sustainability. “It also brings us closer to our goal of creating fashion in a circular model.”
Kering’s CSO, Marie-Claire Daveu, added: “Innovation is what we need to solve our global environmental challenges. This collaboration…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 and lifestyle brands.”