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Web Exclusive | May 2019

Sympatex to close textile recycling loop in 5 years

Before the start of 2019 Copenhagen Fashion Summit from May 15, and roughly two years after announcing the Sympatex Agenda 2020 in January 2017 and the corresponding commitment to closing the textile loop for functional materials as quickly as possible, Sympatex is now raising the bar to the highest level when it comes its sustainability goals.

Sympatex is now racing down the home stretch toward the finish line of a circular textile economy. The goal is to have within the next five years at least half of the raw materials necessary for its functional laminates originate from a circular textile supply chain and be fully recyclable again – and be 100 per cent circular by 2030. This is being made possible by an investment in the Pioneer Members’ Program of Worn Again Technologies, which had a successful showing at last year’s Launch Circular Innovation Challenge in November 2018. Worn Again’s technology will help to close the textile loop even faster and overcome one of the biggest hurdles: the need for mono-material in used textiles for recycling. Its’ polymer recycling technology will enable to process also the most frequently used textile mixtures out of polyester and cotton, Sympatex said in a press release.

"Each year, mountains of clothing end-up on garbage landfills or they are incinerated, even using open fires in many countries. For us, putting an end to this unacceptable environmental burden caused by our industry is more than just a moral commitment. We see in it also an abundance of raw material sources that can be utilized in the future, thanks also to our technology partners who we have targeted and sought out. With wear2wear, FRIVEP and Worn Again Technologies, we have now acquired enough experience to start scaling up our lighthouse projects,” explained Dr Rüdiger Fox, CEO of Sympatex Technologies.

With the membership investment in Worn Again Technologies, Sympatex is now expanding the radius of used textiles suitable for upcycling to include textile combinations from polyester and renewable fibres. While the Munich functional textile specialist already took a major step in the direction of mono-material polyester recycling with the creation of the wear2wear European recycling consortium, and made even further progress through an on-going collaboration with the French government FRIVEP project, in the future the recycling of frequently-used polyester/cotton fabrics will become a reality through the Worn Again technology.

“It’s extremely gratifying to note that nearly the entire textile and outdoor industry is talking about sustainability and climate protection meanwhile, and that most companies are actually following up their words with action. We can observe this progress last but not least in the rapidly growing number of signatories for the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action. Now is the time to think big and focus our energies on making our industry one of the first on the planet to actually transform full sustainability into reality. Let’s all dream big – together," concluded Fox.
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