Lenzing and Södra to collaborate in post-consumer textile recycling
Two forest industry majors – Austria's Lenzing AG, a global manufacturer and supplier of wood-based specialty fibres, and Sweden's Södra Group, a world-class producer of pulp – have signed a cooperation agreement with the clear objective of making a decisive contribution to addressing the practical challenges of recycling post-consumer textile waste. The goal is to process 25 000 tonnes of textile waste per year by 2025.
The fashion industry is an international industry with several major environmental shortcomings not least the lack of material circularity. Globally, millions of tonnes of post-consumer textile waste are generated annually, and most of it ends up in landfills.
In the spirit of the circular economy transition, both Lenzing and Södra have independently addressed the issue and developed appropriate solution options so far. Both companies are experts in their respective fields with many years of large-scale industrial experience.
The cooperation agreement, which was signed on June 2, 2021, involves the transfer of knowledge between the two companies, and a joint process development followed by a capacity expansion for pulp from post-consumer textile waste.
Together, they give textile recycling a huge boost by developing technologies further towards broader, industrial-scale use of post-consumer cellulosic waste.
The jointly developed pulp “OnceMore” will subsequently also be used as a raw material for the production of Lenzing’s TENCEL x REFIBRA branded specialty fibres.
In this turnaround decade for our planet, making forest-based fabrics from recycled textiles is critical to protect biodiversity, alleviate pressure on forests and address the growing climate crisis. Canopy is excited to see these two major producers join forces to bring vital Next-Generation Solutions to the fashion industry. We look forward to seeing greater commercial volumes come to market, said Nicole Rycroft, Founder and Executive Director of Canopy, a US-headed NGO that works with the forest industry’s biggest customers and their suppliers to develop business solutions that protect the last frontier forests
Large-scale solutions for material reuse
In line with its circular economy vision, “We give waste a new life. Every day”, Lenzing drives the industry towards a fully-fledged circular economy by striving to give waste a new life in all aspects of its core business and by co-developing circular solutions with potential partners in and outside the current value chain.
Lenzing has extensive knowledge in developing cutting-edge innovations in recycling such as its REFIBRA and Eco Cycle technologies. In addition to virgin dissolving wood pulp, these technologies allow the processing of a substantial proportion of recycled materials based on pre-consumer cotton scraps and post-consumer garments.
The cooperation with Södra is a major milestone towards achieving our ambitious climate and sustainability goals. We are proud to be able to go this way with a competent partner. One company alone cannot solve the pressing issue of textile waste. It is proactive partnerships like this that enable us to move forward and bring about real systemic change, said Christian Skilich, Member of the Managing Board of Lenzing.
“OnceMore” by Södra is the world’s first process for industrial-scale recycling of textile waste of blended fibres, and it’s the forest that makes that possible.
The process combines wood cellulose with textile waste to create a pure, high-quality dissolving pulp that can be used to produce new clothing and other textile products.
In 2022, new investment will ten-fold the production capacity of OnceMore pulp and reach a higher level of recycled textile content. The goal for 2025 is to process 25 000 tonnes of textile and offer OnceMore pulp based on wood material and 50 percent recycled textile material.
With OnceMore pulp, Södra has created a globally unique solution to base textile on a recycled source. By joining forces with Lenzing, we now take the next step on our journey and will bring world-class recycling to the textile value chain. Through a new investment, we will also ten-fold our production capacity of OnceMore pulp during 2022 and have a higher level of recycled textile content. These are important steps towards our long-term target to create a circular textile industry, said Lotta Lyrå, President and CEO of Södra.