Maximizing the denim industry’s use of textile waste in garments is the goal of Denim Deal, the Dutch-based multi-stakeholder initiative to navigate the challenges of circular textiles. The group is overcoming one supply chain challenge—traceability—by partnering with Aware, a tracer and blockchain technology by Dutch company The Movement that can distinguish false material from genuinely sustainable fabric with a simple scan.
Aware’s tracer particles, which are added to the fiber pre-production, make it possible to prove that the original recycled feedstock was used in the final product, meaning companies can accurately measure their environmental impact targets and prevent greenwashing.
The technology creates a digital twin version that is registered into a secure blockchain to be completely fraud-free. By adding tracers, every garment receives a unique fingerprint, and this can be read with an easy-to-use scanner for authentication.
Aware is the first in the world to make recycled cotton traceable—a crucial tool as many brands begin to shift out of the current linear sourcing model. Denim Deal signatories such as Dutch brand Kings of Indigo and Turkish denim mill Calik Denim use the technology. Calik recently partnered with the company to trace its recycled cotton and recycled polyester.
“We are extremely proud to participate in the Denim Deal as we are equally aware of the positive impact of using recycled fabrics to reduce the consequences to the environment,” said Feico van der Veen, the founder and CEO of The Movement and Aware.
Denim brands are increasingly turning to post-consumer recycled cotton (PCR) as a means to reduce the industry’s impact on water. About 8,000 liters of water is used per pair of jeans alone when using conventional cotton, Denim Deal reports. Using 20 percent PCR, however, can save up to 750 liters of water per pair of jeans.
Under the Denim Deal, a three-year initiative formally established last year by a network of 30 public and private organizations, signatories commit to working as quickly as possible towards a standard of using at least five percent recycled textile in all denim garments. As a first step, three million pairs of jeans are now being made by well-known denim brands, such as KOI, Scotch & Soda and Mud Jeans, and 20 percent of which are made of recycled cotton.
“We are extremely proud to participate in the Denim Deal as we are equally aware of the positive impact of using recycled fabrics to reduce the consequences to the environment,” van der Veen said.