Sustainability drives innovation

Sustainability acts as a guiding principle for innovation and product development. Every process, product or application innovation is evaluated for sustainability from the very beginning. Key considerations include the life cycle perspective and the net-benefit principle over the entire value chain, which are implemented in the project management processes used by the company.

Lenzing’s innovation portfolio addresses key topics for the future. Sustainable innovations and proactive partnerships form the basis for Lenzing’s strategic efforts to green the value chain. Sustainability targets for air emissions, water emissions, pollution, climate protection and the circular economy are the cornerstones of Lenzing’s responsible entrepreneurship, and act as innovation drivers.

LENZING™ ECOVERO™ with REFIBRA™ technology

Through Lenzing’s successful development and scaled production, LENZING™ ECOVERO™ with REFIBRA™ technology is now available to customers worldwide. Maintaining the eco-responsible benefits of the original LENZING™ ECOVERO™, the new viscose fiber with REFIBRA™ technology comprises a minimum of 20 percent of post-consumer textile waste, which is sourced from cellulose-rich materials or polyester-cotton blends. The waste is collected and sorted in collaboration with key industry and innovation leaders who champion post-consumer textile recycling programs.

The expansion of the REFIBRA™ technology to LENZING™ ECOVERO™ will help Lenzing to increase the overall post-consumer content in its products. This expansion further highlights Lenzing’s ongoing stride towards the transition to a circular economy in textile and fashion with its innovative, future-proof solutions.

New resource-efficient dyeing approach for TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers

A new approach has been introduced that covers yarn pre-treatment and knitting technique to achieve aesthetics that resemble the wash-down effects of traditional dyeing in ready-to-wear and knit garments. To address the pollution caused by dyeing and finishing in the textile industry, the new approach will significantly reduce environmental impact and is ideal for use on pre-treated fabrics and yarns made with TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers. It also complements the wet-processing and production facilities of fabric mills, bringing added benefits for value chain partners.

The new approach reduces water and energy usage, by creating similar wash-down aesthetics, previously only achievable through a resource-intensive denim dyeing and bleaching process.

Ideal for use in yarns and fabrics made of TENCEL™ Lyocell fiber or TENCEL™ Lyocell fiber with REFIBRA™ technology, the approach helps elevate the versatility of fabrics and unleashes design possibilities in ready-to-wear and knit apparel, and it is easily compatible with existing machinery in fabric mills.

Industry’s first innovation to mitigate discoloration of cellulosic-based garments during heat molding

Lenzing has introduced a new processing solution that mitigates the yellowing of garments and fabrics made with regenerated cellulosic fibers during high-temperature production processes. With an initial rollout that targets innerwear and subsequently outerwear and ready-to-wear garments, the solution is the first in the industry to address the technical challenge during the garment molding process.

Discoloring and yellowing issues caused by high-temperature molding have traditionally been inevitable during the garment production process. While chemicals could be used to minimize discoloring issues in synthetic fibers, this method does not work as effectively as it does in regenerated cellulosic fibers. With Lenzing’s proprietary solution, this challenge is mitigated, eliminating the bottleneck fabric mills experienced during the production and dyeing of light-colored garments made of regenerated cellulosic fibers.

It also speaks to Lenzing’s efforts to improve and widen the application of cellulosic fibers, such as TENCEL™ Lyocell and Modal fibers, which are derived from sustainable wood sources and produced using environmentally responsible processes

Hydrophobic cellulose fibers for sustainable nonwovens

The development of a hydrophobic lyocell fiber widens Lenzing’s fiber portfolio and allows the replacement of synthetic fibers with a cellulosic fiber, which is compostable under home and industrial conditions and biodegradable in soil, therefore offering an alternative to conventional synthetic fibers. In addition, the cellulosic fibers show increased softness and therefore are beneficial for future product developments in applications touching the skin, such as hygiene products or wipes. Furthermore, the hydrophobic behavior of the cellulosic fibers leads to a different behavior towards lotions, allowing lotion amounts and formulations to be adjusted, therefore widening the options of nonwovens producers, especially when looking into 100 percent cellulosic options.

100 percent cellulosics

The development approach to offer alternatives to synthetic fibers or products offering similar performance as existing products has been pursued further and the range of applications extended further. Firstly, the lyocell fiber portfolio was expanded to include a coarse titer (6.3 dtex), as internal developments and customer feedback show that the bulk of wipes, especially in the wet state, can be increased by blending this new fiber type with already existing fiber types.

In many hygiene applications, hydrophobicity is required to move the liquid to the specified areas. The hydrophobic fiber Lyocell Dry is a perfect fit for a wide range of applications, and more and more customers have started product development using this fiber for topsheets, leg cuffs and also (wet) wipes. This highlights the clear need for replacing fossil-based fibers with sustainable alternatives in the nonwovens industry. The biodegradable diaper jointly developed by Mundao and Lenzing exemplifies the potential for substituting oil-based fibers with sustainable alternatives.

Sustainable protection for glaciers

An innovative and sustainable solution for the protection of snow and ice is now possible with the help of nonwovens made of cellulosic LENZING™ fibers. So far, the nonwovens used to protect glaciers are usually made from fossil-based synthetic fibers and might have negative environmental consequences, such as microplastics on glaciers. In contrast, nonwovens made from LENZING™ fibers are biodegradable and the small fragments released into the environment break down, returning to nature. In a field trial on the Stubai Glacier in Austria, the covering of a small area with the new material containing cellulosic LENZING™ fibers was tested for the first time. The result was convincing, with four meters of ice mass saved from melting. Due to this success, the project is now being expanded. In 2023, field tests started on all Austrian glaciers that are used for tourism. These geotextiles can be recycled and ultimately used to make yarn for textile products.

Total chlorine free fiber production

Viscose has been produced for years now at the Lenzing site (Austria) using totally chlorine free (TCF) bleached pulp and a production process without the use of chlorine chemistry, therefore qualifying the viscose fibers as TCF fibers. The required TCF pulp is produced at the Lenzing site. Pulp production at Indianópolis (Brazil) plays a pivotal role in extending the TCF fiber production to other plants/production sites. Successful TCF lyocell fiber trials have been performed in the viscose plant in Purwakarta (Indonesia) to produce TCF fibers and TCF viscose fibers will subsequently be available at this site. The TCF fiber portfolio was further expanded by offering the first TCF lyocell fiber worldwide.

This allows Lenzing to offer more TCF fibers, therefore supporting customers to offer more totally chlorine free products to the market and reducing the usage of an aggressive chemical even further.

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