New Cotton project brings high-performance circular textiles to consumer markets

Solving the critical environmental and societal challenge of recycling ever-growing piles of discarded textiles is the goal of the New Cotton Project. New Cotton will demonstrate the production of high-performing circular textiles and launch them to the consumer markets. The core of the solution is Infinited Fiber Company’s new innovative technology, which is an affordable and environmentally sustainable way to turn textile waste into cotton-like fibres with superior qualities. Spinverse funding experts helped secure EU Horizon 2020 funding for this exciting 8.9 M€ project, where Infinited Fiber Company acts as the project lead.

Massive amounts of textiles end up in landfills or are being burned as we speak, posing an extensive environmental risk and societal cost. This is why the industry is keen to find solutions to enable a circular mode of operation. Textile production is one of the most polluting industries at the rate of 1.2 billion tons of CO2 every year. At the same time, consumption of clothing is predicted to rise to 102 million tons by 2030 —an increase of 63% that equals to more than 500 billion T-shirts. Therefore, there is a need for more bio-based (non-petroleum-based) textile fibers while also reducing pressure on natural resources such as cotton, the growing of which is not very sustainable (use of water, use of land, use of pesticides & fertilizers).

New Cotton is a collaboration involving leading textile apparel brands

The New Cotton Project is a European initiative bringing together the whole textile industry valueGarments made with Infinited fiber - bright with skirt portrait chain to address the environmental challenge of textile waste. The 3-year project with 12 partners from Finland, Sweden, Germany, Portugal, Turkey, the Netherlands, and Slovenia kicked off in the beginning of October 2020. The project has a total budget of 8.9 M€ and has been granted a total of 6.7 M€ funding from the EU Horizon 2020 programme to demonstrate that the production and consumption of textiles in a sustainable and circular way is possible.

The consortium includes adidas and H&M Group, two global brands for clothing and apparel, making the project a remarkable step towards a more sustainable textile industry. The value chain partners also include textile waste collection and processing experts Frankenhuis and Revolve Waste, yarn and fabric manufacturers Inovafil, Kipas and Tekstina, sustainable fashion innovation platform Fashion for Good, and R&D partners Aalto, Xamk, and RISE.

Technology introduced by Infinited Fiber Company turns a diverse range of feedstocks into high-performing products

The cellulose carbamate technology initially developed by VTT, further developed and patented by Finnish Infinited Fiber Company, enables post-consumer textile waste to be turned into cotton-like, high-quality textile fibre. The process can digest not only cotton-rich waste, but also other cellulose-based waste feedstocks such as cardboard and agricultural waste, such as rice or wheat straw. This diverse feedstock range is a remarkable technological advantage, which helps to reduce the amount of virgin raw materials needed to produce textile fibres.

The New Cotton project brings together the whole textile value chain. In the New Cotton approach, discarded post-consumer textiles are recycled into new fibers using Infinited Fibre Company's technology. The fibres will be woven into textiles by yarn and fabric manufacturer partners of the New Cotton ecosystem. The ecosystem aims to lower the environmental impact of textile waste and fulfil the performance requirements set by the textile-apparel brands and their consumers.

Spinverse is proud to be part of a project making a difference

“The support we received from Spinverse in preparing our application for the EU grant was instrumental. Their consultation and insight helped us secure the funding that enabled this unique consortium to be formed,” said Infinited Fiber Company Co-founder and CEO Petri Alava. “We look forward to fulfilling the aims of this project and breaking new ground in defining a blueprint for circularity in textiles over the next three years.”

Kaisu Leppänen, Director and leader of the Bioeconomy team at Spinverse, has been working closely with the New Cotton consortium during the preparation of the project. She concludes: “We are very proud to have been a part of the journey of the New Cotton project, which sets an example of a concrete circular economy solution with a remarkable impact.”