Unravelled

Renewcell

Patrik Lundström is the CEO of Renewcell - a Swedish company that uses post-consumer cotton and viscose to produce a dissolving pulp called ‘Circulose’ sold to viscose fibre producers who use it to make new yarns.

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Sweden

The way we clothe ourselves is a way of expressing our values and today young people want sustainability. Brands have responded by setting sustainability and circularity agendas. Our mission is to prove to the fashion industry that to meet their own goals, part of the solution means replacing incredibly resource-intensive virgin cotton with recycled viscose-type fibres.

Globally, we are on course to produce 160 million tonnes of fibre a year by 2050. For Patrik Lundström we must change the course of this trajectory. 

“We absolutely have to use and reuse our clothes again and again and produce less in the first place. But the reality is that we will always need to be able to recycle what we can’t use anymore. The EU has passed a law that by 2025 all member states need to separately collect textiles and they are not allowed to be burnt or put into landfill so we need to find ways to use those textiles again.”

But Lundström highlights that the prevalence of blends in the textile waste they buy from collectors and sorters make recycling a huge challenge. “It’s important to design for circularity and think about the end of life, and this means less blends.”

Another challenge for Lundström is that recycling plants like Renewcell’s need to be scaled up through more capacity and investment. But he insists that it is important to create ‘local loops’: “I think you should take care of your own region’s waste as much as possible, the closer the loop, the better it is!

And Lundström explains that when it comes to the brands that use fabrics made using Circulose-based fibres, it is important to him to be on the lookout for greenwashing.

We need to build and maintain trust among consumers when it comes to recycled and sustainable materials.”

renewcell.com/en/

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