EU grant for Södra and Lenzing's Circularity Milestone

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by KnowESG,

Lenzing AG

KnowESG_Södra and Lenzing circularity milestone
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The Lenzing Group, a global leader in speciality fibres for textiles and nonwoven industries, and Swedish pulp producer Södra have taken a significant stride towards a circular future.

Their joint project, supported by a €10 million EU subsidy from the LIFE 2022 programme, aims to develop large-scale recycling of textile waste.

Dubbed LIFE TREATS (Textile Recycling in Europe AT Scale), this ambitious endeavour leverages the expertise, knowledge, and technology of both companies. Lenzing's pioneering REFIBRA™ technology and recycling proficiency play a crucial role in the development of the innovative OnceMore® process. This process will enable the recycling of complex, coloured textiles containing various components like cotton, polyester, and elastane.

The project, scheduled to commence in Q2 2023 and run for four and a half years, involves constructing and managing a joint facility for process development and expanding the OnceMore® process.

The facility will produce 60,000 tonnes of pulp, with 50% being recycled material and the other 50% being derived from renewable pulp sourced through sustainable forestry at Södra's Swedish plant in Mörrum. Additionally, the European Climate, Infrastructure, and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) supports this collaborative effort, which is in line with the EU's circularity action plan.

Åsa Degerman, Manager of OnceMore® by Södra, emphasises the urgency of addressing textile waste and the potential impact of this funding, stating that Södra and Lenzing are prepared to be key contributors to the circular textile economy through chemical recycling.

Sonja Zak, Head of Textile Sourcing & Cooperations at the Lenzing Group, highlights the need for a systemic approach and industrial-scale technological solutions to tackle textile waste's environmental and social impacts.

The LIFE TREATS project, as the first of its kind on a large scale, is poised to revolutionise the textile industry, create circular business opportunities, and increase the usage of recycled fibres in new clothing. Both companies are committed to adhering to waste hierarchy principles and preventing valuable fibre resources from ending up in landfills or incinerators.

The transition to a circular economy necessitates collaboration among multiple stakeholders, and Lenzing recognises the importance of partnerships and projects in driving systemic change.

The collaboration between Lenzing and Södra since 2021 has already made substantial contributions to circularity in the fashion industry. Through knowledge sharing and joint development, the companies aim to enable the industrial-scale utilisation of cellulose-based used textiles, with OnceMore® pulp becoming a raw material for Lenzing's TENCEL™ speciality fibres produced using REFIBRA™ technology.

The LIFE TREATS project's goal is to achieve an annual processing capacity of 50,000 tonnes of textile waste by 2027. Sonja Zak and Åsa Degerman emphasise the project's significance as a collaboration connecting companies along the textile recycling value chain.

Lenzing's circular economy vision, "We give waste a new life. Every day," drives its commitment to giving waste a new purpose in all aspects of its core business. The company has been at the forefront of recycling innovations with technologies like REFIBRA™ and Eco Cycle, enabling the processing of a significant portion of recycling material from cotton cutting scraps and used textiles alongside pure dissolving wood pulp."

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Source: Lenzing Group


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