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Coats Embarks on a Circular Strategy with Biodegradable Thread

The circular economy is taking the fashion industry by storm, disrupting all parts of the denim supply chain and transforming even the most “invisible” elements like thread and trims.

Coats, a U.K.-based industrial thread manufacturer, recently expanded upon its circular commitments with the introduction of EcoRegen, a biodegradable thread that’s made from 100 percent lyocell. Its cellulosic origin makes the thread fully biodegradable and compostable, as lyocell is a renewable fiber derived from sustainably sourced wood pulp.

Coats notes that, in comparison to cotton, lyocell does not require irrigation, pesticides or labor-intensive processes during its cultivation, making it a sustainable alternative to other trims.

Though small, thread can significantly add to a garment’s environmental footprint. It’s been reported that one pair of premium jeans can consume several hundred meters of sewing thread.

Coats’ commitment to sustainable innovations in thread continues with a soon-to-be-launched EcoCycle, a range of water-dissolvable thread that facilitates garment recycling and end-to-end circularity; and Eco-B, a recycled polyester thread incorporating an additive that reduces synthetic fiber accumulation in landfills and microfiber pollution in oceans.

“Sustainable business practices are vitally important for responsible businesses and we continuously strive to support our customers in achieving their sustainability goals,” said Adrian Elliott, Coats president, apparel and footwear. “With the launch of our new sustainable threads, we are developing products that allow our customers to design garments with a clear end-of-life strategy built into them. Our innovative global teams have developed threads that provide uncompromised quality and performance in a completely sustainable offering.”

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In 2014, Coats presented the industry with an adhesive thread for hems, designed to enhance durability and in turn promote sustainability. It began its circular mission in 2018 with the launch of EcoVerde, a range consisting of 100 percent recycled polyester threads, zips and trims, and later doubled down on its commitment to sustainable innovations with the opening of its innovation hubs around the world. There, the company develops new products and processes in apparel, footwear and performance materials.

These developments come as the industry joins global initiatives such as the Ellen MacArthur Jeans Redesign program, which presents guidelines for jeans’ migration to the circular economy. Denim brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Frame and Gap have already produced their first collections featuring denim according to the new blueprint.