During the last edition of Munich Fabric Start held from 24 to 26 January 2023, they hosted the talk “Circularity as a chance: The industry between reducing and recycling” hosting Elena Faleschini, senior manager brand partnerships, Isko; Kutay Saritosun, director of Brand Services and Partnerships; Simone Sommer, division head Sustainable Materials & Innovation, Marco’O Polo; Juliane Ziegler, Juliane Ziegler, representative in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
Moderating the talk was Maria Cristina Pavarini, Senior Editor, The SPIN OFF. Media partner of the event was Textil Wirtschaft.
The talk focused on aspects related to circularity as expressed by the European Green Deal, a series of political initiatives suggested by the European Commission with the aim that Europe reaches Carbon Neutrality by 2050, including the becoming effective of EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) and a revising of textile labelling and the adoption of a Digital Product Passport to be followed by additional and more stringent measures for years to come.
“Circularity is not a game that we can play by ourselves — everyone in the chain must be involved”.
“Isko is fully engaged in circularity, through special initiatives, services and products. Through a new own division we can offer garment services to clients, and we can also collect used garments from them. Thanks to an agreement with Hkrita for the Green Machine technology, we can separate cotton and polyester blends at scale and produce pure, high-quality fibers we for our newest product technology, Ctrl+Z which is composed of 100% recycled and regenerated fibers. With our yarn spinning technology, our recycled denim is significantly more durable than standard cotton material — virgin or recycled. This is how we close the loop and create a second generation of value.”
“The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy requires that textile producers become responsible for the full life cycle of their products by 2025. Isko has been preparing for this and is ready to meet the challenge of converting waste into new material with renewed value, with complete transparency and traceability, while meeting the new requirements of the EU legislation.”
“In the past we considered the supply chain as including all the steps of production and delivery of goods. Now we will add extra steps to include the collection and recycling of materials. This way, consumers also become part of the supply chain, as well as the garment makers. Circularity is not a game that we can play by ourselves — everyone in the chain must be involved.”
Kutay Saritosun, Bluesign:
For Bluesign removing toxic substances from the textile supply chain is crucial to mitigate the impacts both during textile production and at the end-of-life. Bluesign has been working very closely with chemical manufacturers to assess their chemical products and help them produce safe chemistry. For this we developed Bluesign Finder, the world’s largest free online database, containing 20,000 Bluesign Approved chemicals that are available to the textile manufacturers and brands.”
“Circularity has become an important topic, to bring back discarded apparel back into the economy and give them a second, third life, given the magnitude of garments that go to landfill every day. In this context, recycling of textiles and apparel plays an important role.”
“Regarding end of product life, EPR requirements are being put into place to make producers responsible for the waste their products create, as over 60% of post-consumer clothing is currently being discarded in the EU. The European legislation will limit exporting post-consumer clothing outside the EU in order to encourage recycling facilities being built within the EU.”
“The key objective is to create an economy for collection, sorting, reuse, preparation for reuse and recycling to be done at a larger scale, as well as incentives for producers and brands to ensure that their products are designed in respect of circularity principles.”
“Marc O'Polo has circularity on its agenda. We acknowledge the necessity to include circular practices into our business model to achieve our goals in the 45% reduction in GHG emissions.”
“Circularity is premium. We work with all our passion on our products and don't want the value chain we've created to go to waste at the end of life moment. We understand that designing for circularity is a first crucial step to make fiber-to-fiber recycling a reality.”
“Designing for circularity is important for us as it means continuous progress on what we define as physical and emotional durability, in order to keep products in use.”
“We are currently selling the f/w 2023 collection to our partners, which includes the first generation of products designed for circularity and validated by circular.fashion, the leading change agency for circularity. We are also testing online rental fashion services on a project level and started a partnership with Retraced, as a transparent supply chain is one of the key drivers to achieve circularity.”
Juliane Ziegler, GOTS
“GOTS goods are not fully circular yet, but in developing the standard we try and include criteria that support circularity: We have control of the additional fibers going into the product (we allow 30% recycled fibers but only 10% virgin fibers).”
“Chemicals are being assessed, and we check them regarding biodegradability. We do promote a closed-loop production system and prohibit chemical inputs that are not rapidly degradable.”
“We always try to increase the bar to foster innovations in the industry by restricting certain chemicals that are widely used, that also forces the industry to come up with better alternatives.”
“For us, it is important to keep in mind that circularity is not only about using recycled materials but durability, longevity, and emotional attachment to a garment.”
“Any effort should not just be an add-on like, for instance, giving out vouchers for new products when bringing back, but actually create an impact. Creating products with emotional and physical durability is key. It is also important of fostering network in the system to work together, like, for instance, to reduce transportation ways.”