Renewcell’s recycling plant
Renewcell is one of the first steps towards a system that turns used clothing into new, high-quality clothing made entirely from recycled fabrics. It also helps manage the piles of textile waste that have accumulated around the world, helping reduce the number of trees cut from eco-sensitive forests to make fabrics for fashion.
According to Bedát, most of the stuff that can’t be thrown away goes to organizations like Goodwill. Wearable clothing is sold to resale markets in developing countries, and non-wearable fabrics are processed into inferior fibers such as rags and insulation. Clothing donated to Farmer’s Market collections and fast-fashion brands through take-back programs also usually ends up in these for-profit sorting companies, Bedát said.
Renewcell’s factory uses fabric sourced from denim mills and thrift stores around the world to produce sheets of dried pulp called Circulose. This sheet is marketed as the primary raw material for artificial cellulose fabrics such as viscose, rayon and modal.
“The Circulose that comes out is very valuable because it’s a recycled fabric, but it behaves like virgin,” said Paul Foulkes-Arellano, the founder of Circuthon, a circular economy management consultancy.