Swedish fashion recycling innovator Renewcell has reached an agreement with the leading Chinese viscose manufacturer Tangshan Sanyou to supply 175,000 tonnes of Circulose dissolving pulp recycled 100 per cent from discarded textiles. The five-year deal is a significant milestone in the scaling of circular and biodegradable materials for the fashion industry.
The deal was facilitated by Ekman, a leading global trading house for cellulose products.
“We have had this goal in mind for a long time, and it feels unreal that we are there. I am truly impressed by the industry leadership shown by Tangshan Sanyou and immensely proud of the Renewcell team for getting us to this point. Together, Renewcell, Tangshan Sanyou and Ekman are firmly committed to delivering on our promise to make fashion sustainable at scale” said Renewcell CEO Patrik Lundström.
Renewcell and Tangshan Sanyou have worked together closely since 2019 to develop ground-breaking high-quality viscose staple fibres made from Circulose dissolving pulp recycled from post-consumer and post-industrial textile waste. These efforts resulted in fibres that have been launched in retail by global fashion brands such as H&M and Levi’s in 2020, proving the commercial potential of circular material to replace virgin fibres in a wide range of fashion applications.
“The global fashion industry is striding forward on the road to sustainability. Leading the charge, we have developed and used recycled pulp from Renewcell, cooperated and successfully scaled up an innovative viscose product called Circulose fibre. As one of the world’s well-established viscose manufacturers, Sanyou strictly adheres to the concept of green development and takes active actions to jointly protect the global ecological environment,” said Zheng Baishan, chairman of Xingda Chemical Co. Ltd, a part of Tangshan Sanyou Group.
Renewcell will deliver its recycled Circulose dissolving pulp from its future plant in Sundsvall in Sweden. The agreement with Tangshan Sanyou is a key element to securing the financing for the new plant which is set to start production in the first half of 2022. Once operational, the new plant will be capable of recycling the equivalent of 300 million t-shirts, helping to close the loop on fashion and reducing fashion’s reliance on virgin materials like cotton and oil.
The announcement is celebrated by Canopy, a Canadian NGO with the mission to protect ancient and endangered forests globally. “This exciting agreement will help bring vital Next Generation Solutions to life and save forests in the process,” said Nicole Rycroft, Canopy executive director. “Today’s announcement will ensure commercial volumes of Next Generation viscose will be available to a growing market ready for change. Hundreds of fashion brands want to stop the degradation of forests from textile production and we expect long line-ups for this product.”