Sustainable to Circular Materials refers to the shift in the fashion industry towards using materials that not only have a low environmental impact but also contribute to a circular economy. Sustainable materials are those that are responsibly sourced, produced with minimal harm to the environment, and have a reduced carbon footprint. These materials may include organic cotton, hemp, recycled polyester, and other eco-friendly alternatives. However, the concept of circular materials goes beyond sustainability by emphasizing the need for materials that can be recycled, reused, or biodegraded at the end of their life cycle.

Circular materials aim to close the loop by ensuring that resources are continuously used and waste is minimized. This involves designing products with materials that can be easily disassembled, separated, and transformed into new materials or products through recycling or upcycling processes. To achieve the transition from sustainable to circular materials, various strategies are employed in the fashion industry. This includes the use of innovative technologies and processes to create materials that are both sustainable and recyclable. For example, companies may develop fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles, discarded textiles, or agricultural waste.

Furthermore, the implementation of extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs can encourage brands to take responsibility for the entire life cycle of their products, including the materials used. EPR programs promote the collection, recycling, and responsible disposal of products at the end of their use. In addition, collaborations and partnerships between fashion brands, textile manufacturers, and recycling facilities play a crucial role in driving the adoption of circular materials. By working together, they can develop scalable solutions and innovative techniques to transform waste materials into new fibers, fabrics, or components for the fashion industry.

Overall, the shift from sustainable to circular materials in the fashion domain represents a more holistic approach to environmental sustainability. It aims to reduce the industry’s reliance on finite resources, minimize waste generation, and promote a circular economy where materials are continuously cycled and reused, contributing to a more sustainable and regenerative fashion industry.

Case studies

ECONYL®

ECONYL® is a regenerative nylon fiber produced by Aquafil, a global leader in sustainable textiles. The company collects nylon waste materials, such as fishing nets and carpet fibers, and transforms them into high-quality regenerated nylon yarn. This circular material is then used by fashion brands like Adidas, Stella McCartney, and H&M in their products.

Reformation

Reformation is a sustainable fashion brand that focuses on using eco-friendly materials and implementing circular practices. They use deadstock and vintage fabrics, as well as eco-friendly fibers like TENCEL™, in their collections. Reformation also offers a “RefScale” on their website, which shows the environmental impact of each garment.

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney is a luxury fashion brand that is committed to sustainable and circular principles. They prioritize using sustainable materials, including recycled polyester, organic cotton, and regenerated cashmere. Stella McCartney also collaborates with innovative companies like Bolt Threads to develop new circular materials, such as lab-grown silk and mushroom-based leather alternatives.

Worn Again Technologies

Worn Again Technologies is a UK-based company that specializes in textile recycling and aims to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. They have developed a recycling technology that can separate and extract polyester and cotton from old clothing and textiles. These recycled materials can then be used to create new fabrics and products.

Evrnu

Evrnu is a textile technology company that focuses on creating circular fibers from post-consumer textile waste. Their innovative process transforms old garments into high-quality fibers that can be used to make new clothing items. Evrnu collaborates with fashion brands and manufacturers to integrate their circular fibers into the production process.

References

https://new.epo.org/en/news-events/european-inventor-award/meet-the-finalists/carmen-hijosa

https://new.epo.org/en/news-events/european-inventor-award/meet-the-finalists/carmen-hijosa#&gid=1&pid=1

https://www.dandad.org/annual/2022/entry/professional/235933

https://plantbasednews.org/lifestyle/h-m-collection-vegan-pineappple-leather-orange-silk/

https://www.facebook.com/hugoboss/videos/10156503597456520

https://boltthreads.com/

https://www.adidas.com/us/blog/663481-stan-smith-mylotm-made-using-mushrooms

https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_widmaier_the_future_of_fashion_made_from_mushrooms

https://www.voguebusiness.com/sustainability/stella-mccartney-to-debut-first-ever-mushroom-leather-bag

https://www.textiletoday.com.bd/a-dutch-company-is-bending-mango-to-leather

https://www.panaprium.com/blogs/i/hemp-fashion