Finland leading the way for the global textile industry with innovation and sustainability

Finland offers groundbreaking solutions and know-how at every level of the sustainable textile ecosystem, from textile waste handling, treatment, B2B & B2C sales and usage, collection, and recycling to the identification and back to waste handling. The textile industry has a massive impact on the environment, and new sustainable solutions are needed for each stage of a textile’s life cycle. Finland is leading the revolution towards sustainable materials and business models in the international textile business.

Sustainability is an essential aspect of textiles. In this regard, the leading Finish experts from Finland are Rester, NordShield®, Emmy, Spinnova and Infinited Fiber Company, which offer Finnish innovations across the textile ecosystem.

Spinnova and Infinited Fiber Company have developed innovative ways of making fiber out of the wood pulp and discarded textiles. The manufacture of sustainable textile fiber made with Spinnova’s method creates 0% waste or side streams, 0% microplastics, and minimal CO2 emissions and water use. In contrast, Emmy Clothing Company has created a transparent resale-as-a-service for clothes, making it possible for all actors in the ecosystem to prolong its life cycle. Rester collaborates closely with Southwest Finland’s municipal waste management company LSJH in a project that brings together the private and public sectors in textile waste handling. NordShield®’s patented technology enables natural antimicrobial treatment of fabrics, free of heavy metals from waste handling to a textile’s physical features.

Waste management & recycling: The Nordics’ first large-scale end-of-life textile refinement plant opens in Finland this summer. Responding to the growing textile waste issues, new textile recycling regulations will come into force in the EU in 2025. However, Finland aims to start the process already by 2023.

Finnish biotechnology company Infinited Fiber Company is known for technology that can turn discarded textiles into a premium regenerated textile fiber, called Infinna™. Infinna has the soft and natural look and feel of cotton and it offers a circular alternative to less sustainable conventional textile fibers that rely on virgin raw materials. The company was recently listed on the 2021 Global Cleantech 100 list.

Marika Ollaranta, Head of the Bio and Circular Finland program from Business Finland, said, “By replacing primary raw materials with recycled components or using, for example, wood-based textile fiber, and by keeping already existing materials in the economy as long as possible, we have the opportunity to impact the huge global system and value chains. Finnish innovations offer revolutionary solutions that cover the whole life cycle of a textile. Governments, consumers, and the industry itself are waking up to the challenges of a very single-use oriented industry. Still, more work is needed to build awareness and change mindsets and behavior to make the cycle more sustainable while also maintaining the level of quality and reasonable costs.”

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