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Recycling polycotton, which accounts for half of textile waste, may soon become the norm

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

17 Aug 2022

Fashion

Image: Circ.earth

Recycling fibers and implementing circular processes is a medium term goal set by many apparel companies, but little headway has been made to recycle mixed fabrics, like polycotton. Polyester cotton is one of the most unsustainable fabric blends yet loved by fast fashion companies because of their low cost cheap and durability.

Circ, a Virginia-based biofuel and textile recycling startup, is hoping to counter reliance on virgin polyester-cotton blends, which are inexpensive to produce but nearly impossible to break down. Polycotton also accounts for half of global textile waste.

Polycotton accounts for half of global textile waste.

While plastic and polyester can be recycled when they are ‘pure’ blended fabrics, those mixed with natural fibers such as cotton face recycling challenges without one of the fabrics degrading during the process.

Raising 30 million dollars in a successful funding round last month, Circ is investing in new technologies that (re)sources and (re)harvests raw ingredients out of clothing waste. The company claims it can entirely eliminate the demand for raw ingredients needed to make clothing by creating new clothes entirely out of old ones.

The process employs part recycling and part groundbreaking science, using water, pressure and responsible chemistry to recover natural materials from man-made products.

Circ is already working with companies such as Inditex and Patagonia, recycling fabrics such as cotton, polyester and polycotton, to achieve the specific product requirements by its clients.

Circ technology aims to design closed-loop, certified manufacturing systems that power clothing brands entirely designed for sustainability and circularity without ever needing to source new raw materials. One of its goals is to recycle 10 billion garments by 2030, representing 10 percent of the global apparel market, which will save more than 100 million trees.

CIRC
Circular Fashion
Polyester
RECYCLING
SUSTAINABILITY