Only 1% of textile waste is recycled into new apparel. Key challenges being skills and infrastructure to collect, sort and distribute textile waste at scale and the immaturity and scale of (local) recycling technologies. The value of waste increases tremendously once cleaned, sorted, cut and packed. The industry needs new networks and processes to professionalize waste collection and to close the loop on textile waste.

By 2025 we aim to collect, sort and rejuvenate 48 million kg of post-production fabric waste per year. By doing so we can save 220 billion liters water and 50 million kg CO2.

  • Minister Kaag wears a dress made with UPSET yarns during trade mission to India
  • Minister Bruins wears suit made with UPSET yarns during presentation of national budget
  • Winning the State of the Art Partnership Award 2021, presented at the COP26

Program supporter

Program supporter

Concordia is a family owned organization with a long-term perspective and sustainability high on the agenda. Concordia has a strong believe that the apparel industry could become social and sustainable and sees working with textile waste as an important aspect of it. Hence, circular textiles have become a completely new strategic pillar for Concordia. The company has been researching textile recycling and rejuvenation technologies for nearly 5 years and is currently setting up a rejuvenation factory on their premises in Belgium, together with technology partner PurFi.

PurFi is a technology company that developed a rejuvenation technology to rejuvenate fibers from textile waste to virgin quality. The rejuvenation technology has been recognized as revolutionary by organizations like Fashion For Good and the UN environmental program. The company has a longstanding track record in the textile sector, specialized in recycling textile waste back into new fibers. PurFi Global supports the pilot by providing expertise and know-how on textile collection and sorting to ensure high quality input streams for the rejuvenation technology.

Upset

Only 1% of textile waste is recycled into new apparel. Key challenges being skills and infrastructure to collect, sort and distribute textile waste at scale and the immaturity and scale of (local) recycling technologies. The value of waste increases tremendously once cleaned, sorted, cut and packed. The industry needs new networks and processes to professionalize waste collection and to close the loop on textile waste.

By 2025 we aim to collect, sort and rejuvenate 48 million kg of post-production fabric waste per year. By doing so we can save 220 billion liters water and 50 million kg CO2.

  • Minister Kaag wears a dress made with UPSET yarns during trade mission to India
  • Minister Bruins wears suit made with UPSET yarns during presentation of national budget
  • Winning the State of the Art Partnership Award 2021, presented at the COP26

Program supporter

Program supporter

Concordia is a family owned organization with a long-term perspective and sustainability high on the agenda. Concordia has a strong believe that the apparel industry could become social and sustainable and sees working with textile waste as an important aspect of it. Hence, circular textiles have become a completely new strategic pillar for Concordia. The company has been researching textile recycling and rejuvenation technologies for nearly 5 years and is currently setting up a rejuvenation factory on their premises in Belgium, together with technology partner PurFi.

PurFi is a technology company that developed a rejuvenation technology to rejuvenate fibers from textile waste to virgin quality. The rejuvenation technology has been recognized as revolutionary by organizations like Fashion For Good and the UN environmental program. The company has a longstanding track record in the textile sector, specialized in recycling textile waste back into new fibers. PurFi Global supports the pilot by providing expertise and know-how on textile collection and sorting to ensure high quality input streams for the rejuvenation technology.

We are currently piloting a fair and circular textile waste supply chain in two countries (India & Kenya). With the sorting centers (UPSET) we are supporting the commercialization of the groundbreaking PurFi technology. This technology can rejuvenate natural (cotton) fibers to a virgin quality, ready for the mainstream market. Together with PurFi, we’re building a fair and circular supply chain to collect and sort textile cotton waste, as feedstock for the production of 100% rejuvenated fibers.

The sorting center fulfils a key need in the circular chain.  Recycling technologies need specific feedstock, quality checks, and a constant flow to meet volume requirements. UPSET meets this need with the following key activities:

  • Sourcing
  • Quality checks on feedstock
  • Sorting to recycler specification
  • Connect – building a local consortium 

We have validated both the sorting quality and rejuvenation technology in pilots. After sorting over 200.000 kg of waste and sending it over to Belgium to produce rejuvenated fibers, the results were even better than expected. In 2022, we plan to bring the technology to India, establishing a local, fair and circular textile waste stream. In the future we aim to add new re-, up- and down-cyclers to the value chain, to reduce the amount of waste being landfilled.

Pilot: India

With all key safety protocols in place, our first pilot sorting center in Chennai India has moved from strength to strength with its all female team, providing them with safe, formal employment and training. Over 2021 out pilot employed 12 local women who collected and sorted 55.000 kg of textile waste for the Belgium pilot plant. In 2022, we moved to a bigger 15,000 sq ft facility in Chennai which has the capacity to sort 300,000 to 400,000 kgs of waste per month. We will upskill and employ up to 25 female waste collectors/sorter.

Pilot: Kenya

In Kenya most textile waste is dumped due to a lack of any circular waste-to-value solutions. Turning offcut waste into valuable feedstock for rejuvenation is a novel concept. Therefore in addition to setting up our sorting center a crucial part of our pilot is to include stakeholders from local industry, businesses, brands and retailers. By enabling these companies to work together we can realize a formal circular system. As in India, UPSET is working together with PurFi to build the supply chain capable of collecting & sorting cotton textile waste for use as feedstock.

Our Timeline in Kenya:

  • 2020: Replication and knowledge transfer of the sorting center from India to East Africa
  • June 2020: Fully-fledged sorting center established in Kenya at Athi River
  • June 2020: Employment of an all-female team of sorters. Comprised of the previously unemployed. this team was trained and equipped with sorting skills.
  • August 2020: We sourced, tested and sorted over 6,000 kg of waste and made the first shipment to Purfi for rejuvenation.
  • Jan 21: Multiple sourcing agreements signed with waste aggregators and manufacturers.
  • Sep 2021: Over 100,000 kilograms of textile waste was diverted from  dumpsites and sorted for rejuvenation.

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Let’s face it, no look is really complete without the right finishes. Not to the best of standards, anyway (just tellin’ it like it is, babe). Upgrading your shoe game. Platforms, stilettos, wedges, mules, boots—stretch those legs next time you head out, then rock sliders, sneakers, and flats when it’s time to chill.