More steps towards textile circularity

Research on recycling in the sports and outdoors industry, an initiative to reduce climate impact from the clothing industry, automated sorting of recycled clothes and sales of second-hand footwear. A lot is happening in the area of circular textiles today.

“The Christmas gift of the year” according to HUI Research is, as previously announced, a recycled garment. Research on recycled clothing is now being conducted at Luleå University. With funding from the Kamprad Family Foundation, Luleå researchers Thomas Zobel and Åsa Ericson are studying how to make recycling a higher priority for companies that sell products for sports and outdoor activities. One of their main areas of focus is the increasingly common swapping and second-hand markets, as well as how people are using social media to exchange things with each other. The two researchers also want to look at how businesses can ensure that expanded services such as repair and second-hand sales make sense logically and financially.

The new Swedish Textile Initiative for Climate Action, Stica, has also been launched. Within this programme, Kappahl, H&M and Peak Performance are undertaking to reduce their climate footprint by at least 20 percent by 2030. This is also in line with the UN’s Fashion Industry Charter on Climate Action launched during COP24. Other textile companies as well as industry organisations can also become support partners.

H&M Sweden has gone so far as to set a goal to become climate positive throughout the value chain by 2040. The company Quantis International estimates that the global clothing and footwear industries account for 8 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the world. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has also concluded in a study that climate emissions from Sweden’s textile consumption have increased by 27 percent over the past 7 years.

Swedes consume around 13 kg of textiles per person and year, and throw away 8 kg. To use this waste and to facilitate re-use and the production of new materials, a project called WargoTex Development is working on creating industrial-scale, advanced textile sorting technology. 25 partners from the textile value chain are participating in the initiative. The project is being run by Wargön Innovation in Vänersborg and a pilot sorting facility is being built. The technology is based on the FiberSort concept which scans and sorts large quantities of textiles based on the types of fibres they contain.

It is now also possible to purchase recycled shoes from large retail chains. Footwear company Scorett is launching a new product line called REUSE consisting of unique and fully useable second-hand shoes and boots that have been cleaned, polished, impregnated and any necessary repairs made at the Scorett Group’s own shoe repair facility at the head office in Varberg, Halland. The collection is available for purchase at Scorett’s website. Another aspect of Scorett’s circular strategy is a shoe care guarantee offered at some of the chain’s stores.