Innovation That Matters

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Turning discarded clothes into new materials

Fashion & Beauty

One startup is using textile waste to create planet-friendly, circular resources

Spotted: Of the 100 billion garments produced yearly, only one per cent will get recycled, with the vast majority going to landfills where they take hundreds of years to decompose. However, one startup is offering a new approach to textile waste. The Berlin-based female co-founded company, Re-Fresh Global, is turning discarded clothing into new raw materials. These materials can be used to create products like cosmetics, cars, packaging, pharmaceuticals, fibres, and furniture. 

First, the company uses its automated technology to sort and separate textile waste, depending on its material composition and colour. Then, Re-fresh’s patented biotechnology transforms shredded textile fibres into industrial quantities of new and highly versatile resources.  

This process creates three new, raw material types: nanocellulose, ethanol, and sanitised textile pulp. The nanocellulose is strong and highly versatile, meaning it can be used in items including packaging, paper, and pharmaceuticals. The pure bioethanol (alcohol) has various useful applications across the beauty, sanitation, and biofuel industries. And finally, the textile pulp, made from recycled natural and synthetic fibres, can be used in the production of new fibres, whether that be for car upholstery or sound-absorbing workplace interiors.

Video source Re-Fresh Global

Re-Fresh recently raised €1.1 million in a pre-seed round that will enable the company to continue its research and development (R&D) activities, further refine its biotech process, and accelerate marketing and sales activities. 

While essential for everyday life, clothes pose many environmental risks in production and disposal. In the archive, Springwise has spotted many innovations looking to create a sustainable fashion industry. These include micro-factories and regenerative fibres made from agricultural waste.

Written By: Anam Alam



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