During the recently closed edition of Premiere Vision in February 2017, Lenzing has announced the launch of Refibra, a new sustainable fiber that is obtained by recycling cotton scraps and Tencel.

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The new fiber is obtained by employing Tencel (80%) and another 20% made up of recycled cotton scraps blended with wood fibers. Refibra is obtained through a similar technique as the one used for producing Tencel and can be manufactured in the same facilities by employing the same machines.

Each fabric made with Refibra can be fast and securely recognized through special testing in order to guarantee the genuineness of the fibers employed

As Tencel is recognized to be produced employing natural renewable substances according to eco-friendly processes, this new fiber represents a further achievement as it could push ahead new solutions in the textile industry towards circular economy by recycling production waste.

"For Lenzing, developing circular business models in the fashion industry ensures the decoupling of business growth from pressure on ecological resource consumption. It reduces the need to extract additional virgin resources from nature, and reduces the net impact on ecological resources," explained Robert van de Kerkhof, CCO of Lenzing.

Lenzing managers Robert van de Kerhof (l.) and A. Gautam showing a piece of jersey made with Refibra
Photo: SI team
Lenzing managers Robert van de Kerhof (l.) and A. Gautam showing a piece of jersey made with Refibra

According to Lenzing studies the need for clothing will double by the year 2025. “This amount of clothing signals a major burden for our environment. Eighty percent of the clothing we throw away ends up in landfills. An estimated 50 million tons of clothing are thrown away every year. Refibra, the new Tencel innovation, is the solution and enables circular economy for the textile industry,” continues Kerkhof.

"The brand name Refibra and the claim 'Reborn Tencel fiber' illustrate that this new kind of fiber is made of recycled materials promising reduced reliance on natural raw materials. Refibra offers a deep sustainability profile that clearly contributes to circular economy," van de Kerkhof adds.

The first knitwear pieces made with Refibra sold on the market worldwide are by Zara as of 7 February 2017, exactly when the new fiber was presented to textile insiders. Other additional capsule collections will soon be released.  

The new fiber’s production could be slightly more expensive than the premium Tencel fiber and might cost about 10% more than Tencel. “At present Refibra is produced with 100% pre-consumer cotton, but new developments made with other natural fibers might also be achieved,” commented A. Gautam, VP Global BM Textiles.

“The next generation Tencel fiber is revolutionizing the fiber industry and has the potential to significantly change consumers' behavior,” van de Kerkhof continues. “With Refibra, we add to the future of manufacturing, we start to reassess waste as resource and set the basis for a complete new business model. Brands and retailers – from customers - might also become suppliers of fiber and fabric manufacturers by, for instance, providing leftovers and garments as basis for creating new raw material without employing large quantities of new raw material. Our target is to close the loop.”

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