(THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY RECOVER ™ – ONE OF THE SOLUTION PROVIDERS FEATURED IN GLOBAL FASHION AGENDA’S INNOVATION FORUM)
Sustainability has taken center stage in the fashion and textiles industry in recent years, as the industry´s toll on the environment becomes more and more evident. With the fashion industry contributing to global water pollution, a growing scarcity of raw materials, and up to 10% of all emissions worldwide, the need to radically shift perspectives on value and commit to a circular economy is growing. Recover™ is solving this need with the accelerated adoption and scaling of its recycled cotton.
Recover™, a leading material sciences company and global producer of high-quality recycled cotton fiber and cotton fiber blends, aims to solve this need with the accelerated adoption and scaling of its recycled cotton.
According to the Higg Material Sustainability Index and results calculated using the Higg MSI (Higg.org) V3.2, the global warming potential of Recover´s recycled cotton is almost 10 times less than virgin conventional cotton and it produces just 0.199 kg CO2 eq (global warming potential), compared to organic cotton (0.998 kg CO2 eq) and conventional cotton (1.93 kg CO2 eq).
The proprietary process to create this fiber, perfected for over 70 years at Recover™, is ready to be introduced into the supply chain on a global scale, to offer an end-to-end sustainable solution for brands and retailers and to help them achieve circular fashion. There are many barriers to scaling this process, however the recycled cotton producer is ready for the challenge.
In 2020, Recover™ entered a strategic partnership with Story3 Capital, a leading investment manager who saw the potential that Recover™ had to become the leading agent of change in the industry. With the help of this investment, Recover™ is focusing on multiple areas of opportunity to scale the business.
The expansion of manufacturing capacity, in major garment production hubs throughout the world, will allow the company to increase its production to 200,000 metric tons of recycled cotton fiber per year by 2025. The first hubs are already set to open in Bangladesh at the end of 2021 and in Vietnam in 2022, with both facilities strategically placed close to textile waste and/or textile manufacturing hubs to reduce the carbon impact of transportl. These growth plan and production goals would mean that by 2025 Recover™ could save nearly three trillion liters of water each year, equivalent to the drinking water consumed by 3 billion people on an annual basis and allow 500 000 acres of land to be directed away from cotton cultivation to other uses.
Whilst investment in research and development will support the ongoing improvement of Recover
™´s fiber quality, as well as allow the development of solutions for supply chain traceability, helping to build trust in the brand and the product. The company also plans to develop the scaling of pre-and-post-consumer waste (PCW) garment recycling, to further close the loop on fashion. The company has been doing this for years for denim and in closed loop projects, but it is now aiming to intensify its efforts and aims to have PCW represent more than 40 percent of its inputs by 2025. This would mean recycling ±425 million garments to produce fiber to create ±700 million new garments.
As part of its scalability plan, the company also partners with other committed actors in the industry to develop sustainable and circular solutions. In addition to the Circular Fashion Partnership, Recover™ has joined the United Nations Global Compact, the Accelerating Circularity Project and became a signatory of Textiles 2030. All with the aim to drive the fashion industry towards a closed loop system.