The Lenzing Group collaborates in industry and multi-stakeholder initiatives – including the Microfiber Consortium of the European Outdoor Group, the Cross Industry Agreement of the textile and detergent industries, and the Textile Mission project within the German research program on plastics in the environment (“Plastik in der Umwelt”). As well as providing fiber and textile intermediate materials for testing and developing new forms of textile construction, Lenzing gives feedback on draft reports and guidance documents.
Circular Fashion Partnership
Circular Fashion Partnership is a cross-sectoral project led by Global Fashion Agenda. Fashion brands, manufacturers and recyclers collaborate to capture and reuse textile waste in Bangladesh. Lenzing is engaged in accelerating the transition to a circular system in the fashion industry.
In 2019, Lenzing became a member of the Policy Hub on the circular economy for the apparel and footwear industry, which it has also co-chaired since May 2020. In 2022, the company actively contributed to the industry’s understanding of barriers and challenges facing the circular economy in areas such as waste and recycling technologies, transparency, and sustainable product initiatives. Lenzing has also actively engaged with the public and EU policy makers in exchanging information on barriers and possible solutions for advancing circularity.
Circular and Sustainable Textile Clothing (CISUTAC)
In October 2022, Lenzing became a partner in the CISUTAC (Circular and Sustainable Textile and Clothing) project that is co-funded by the EU. The new consortium was established to support the transition to a circular and sustainable textile sector. Besides Lenzing, the 27 members of the consortium include the industry association Euratex, the textile company Inditex, PVH, Decathlon and the non-governmental organization Oxfam. The aim of this initiative is to prevent, identify and eliminate barriers to the circularity of the clothing chain. For its part, Lenzing is focusing on the development of recycling processes for cellulose fibers in line with its own corporate strategy.
European Apparel and Textile Confederation (EURATEX)
EURATEX is the European Apparel and Textile Confederation, representing the interests of the European textile and clothing industry at the EU institutional level. Lenzing has contributed to EURATEX, and its latest project ReHubs to further promote circularity in the textile industry.
EURATEX is currently working on the Recycling Hubs (ReHubs) initiative. The goal of ReHubs is to set up an integrated system based on recycling hubs in Europe to upcycle textile waste and industrially scale up the collection, sorting, processing and recycling of pre- and post-consumer materials. Lenzing has committed to joining the “Transform textile waste into feedstock” project within the EURATEX ReHubs initiative led by Texaid.
ReHubs will enable the creation of a new European market of secondary raw materials, saving additional waste-related costs. These recycling hubs will create and spread knowledge about product recyclability and product design to improve cooperation between makers and buyers across the industry value chain.
By the end of 2024, Europe will face the challenge of having to separate the collection of textile waste. At present, there is no large scale plan across Europe to reuse and recycle the current 7.5 million tons of textile waste.
Accelerating Circularity Project (ACP)
Accelerating Circularity’s mission is to design and implement systems in which textile waste is repurposed as a raw material, and is no longer incinerated or sent to landfill. With this model, materials will be constantly reused or recycled, and textile waste will itself become a valuable resource. Lenzing welcomes the opportunity to be a Board representative of an organization that envisions a textile world that is restorative and regenerative by design; one that creates shared value, enhances equality, and promotes the wellbeing of communities. As well as being a founding partner of the project in the US in 2019, Lenzing became a project partner in Europe in 2021.
Lenzing took part in two scientific trials in 2022 with the goal of a) test for the highest post-consumer content using the REFIBRA™ technology as a carrier fiber and b) testing 50 percent of TENCEL™ fibers with REFIBRA™ technology mixed with a maximum amount of post-consumer textile waste, while also targeting a lighter denim weight. These trials were designed by ACP in collaboration with participating trial members that are representative of all areas of the circular value chain, including collectors, sorters, preprocessors, recyclers, fiber producers, yarn spinners, fabric mills, and brands. Participants engage with a shared goal of testing the entire system from collection through to brand procurement for technical, logistical, and marketplace acceptance. Each input and output is tested for physical and functional feasibility along the entire process chain, which is only just starting to include inputs from post-consumer collection sources.
In August 2021, Lenzing was one of the pioneering signatories of the voluntary Textiles 2030 agreement. Textiles 2030 is Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP)’s new expert-led initiative in the UK designed to limit the impact of clothes and home textiles on climate change. It represents a voluntary agreement that is funded by its signatories and the government. Signatories will collaborate on carbon, water and circular textile targets, as well as contribute to national policy discussions. With its manufacturing facilities in Grimsby in the United Kingdom, Lenzing is honored to take part in this initiative for proactively fostering circularity and systemic change in the textiles industry.
In December 2022, Lenzing and Renewcell, the Swedish textile-to-textile recycling pioneer, signed a multi-year supply agreement to accelerate the transition of the textile industry from a linear to a circular business model. The agreement contains the sale of 80,000 to 100,000 tons of Renewcell’s 100 percent recycled textile Circulose® dissolving pulp to Lenzing over a five-year period, for use in the production of cellulosic fibers for fashion and other textile applications.
To further speed up the technological development of textile recycling followed by an expansion of capacity for generating pulp from post-consumer waste, Lenzing began collaborating with Södra, another leading global pulp producer, in 2021. The goal is to recycle and process 25,000 tons of textile waste per year by 2025 at Södra’s Mörrum site. Together with partners along the value chain, Lenzing aims to promote the issue of textile recycling and process 100,000 tons of textile waste by 2028. Thus, as well as developing recycled materials to satisfy Lenzing’s own circularity commitments, this joint project with Södra will enable substantial quantities of recycled pulp to be used by other wood-based cellulose fiber producers across the world. Lenzing is therefore contributing to the scaling of circularity and fibers with recycled content in the market.