The launch of two new textile innovations continues to drive the apparel industry towards greater circularity.
Austrian fiber producer and Tencel creator Lenzing continues to push the envelope on sustainable textiles in response to growing consumer awareness for greater industry sustainability and transparency with the introduction of its new eco fiber EcoVero. Setting a new industry wide benchmark for viscose fibers, EcoVero has the lowest environmental impact in the industry.
The fiber to make EcoVero is derived from wood sourced from sustainable forestry plantations that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), building on Lenzing’s comprehensive wood sourcing policy.
Additionally, the manufacturing process for the fiber has been designed to have significantly less impact than traditional viscose production. Lenzing’s viscose production sites where EcoVero is produced complies with EU Eco Label guidelines, a leading global environmental manufacturing standard, which has allowed the company to drastically reduce emissions and water consumption throughout the production process. At its flagship viscose production site in Austria, Lenzing relies largely on renewable bio-energy to fuel manufacturing.
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The introduction of a special manufacturing system has also allowed the company to identify EcoVero fibers in the final product, long after the textile processing and conversion steps. As a result, retailers and brands are fully assured that they are incorporating the sustainable viscose and not a generic market viscose into their products.
“With this special identification technology for EcoVero fibers, we are supporting the trend in the fashion industry towards greater transparency,” said Robert van de Kerkhof, CCO at Lenzing. “It is becoming increasingly important to know where the products come from and which path they have covered.”
The new EcoVero fibers are currently in the sampling phase and will launch at global textile trade shows this autumn.
Meanwhile, Sympatex Technologies, developer and producers of membranes, laminates and functional textiles for clothing, footwear, accessories, has developed a new technical jacket that strikes the ultimate balance between form, function and sustainability.
Developed during a two-day design hackathon with a group of 20 outdoor bloggers and influencers, the jacket is made with a 100 percent recycled laminate from the current Sympatex portfolio. The membrane consists of 100 percent polyether-ester produced through a climate-neutral process and the outer fabrics and linings consist of 100 percent recycled polyester fibers certified by the Global Recycled Standard (GRS) and bluesign. Compared to traditional polyester fibers, the production of recycled polyester has allowed Sympatex to reduce CO2 emissions by 32 percent, energy consumption by 60 percent and water consumption by 94 percent.
Additionally, digital printing is used in lieu of traditional dyeing processes to color the jackets, further reducing the jacket’s water footprint.
At the end of life, the jacket is fully recyclable. Each jacket is equipped with an integrated return label featuring the Sympatex company address, where consumers can send their product to be recycled. The company then sends the jackets to a plastic recycling facility, where the PES fibers are separated to be reused, ultimately creating a closed loop process.
“Our closed-loop meets textile industry 4.0 lighthouse project deals with the development of a customizable, recycled and recyclable function jacket 4.0. We are not going to produce an own collection in the future, but we want to give an example of already available opportunities that can be implemented already today in terms of ecology,” said Dr. Rüdiger Fox, CEO of Sympatex Technologies.
“This project combines the highest clothing performance and fashion style with the same time optimized sustainability and we invite the entire industry to replicate these technological opportunities unscrupulously that are available already today.”
The “functional jacket 4.0” will be presented at the Sympatex booth at the international OutDoor 2017 industry tradeshow in Friedrichshafen, Germany on June 18 – 21. Consumers will be able to customize and purchase the functional jacket from June 18 onwards at ClosingtheLoop.de.