Investor groups see infinite possibilities in building a circular economy for the apparel industry.
Finnish textile startup Infinited Fiber Company (IFC) announced Tuesday that it has raised 3.7 million euros ($4.1 million) in funding to ramp up capacity for its recycled cellulose fibers.
IFC’s technology can turn materials containing cellulose like textile, cardboard and agriculture waste into new natural fiber. The company is currently running a 50-ton pilot plant in Finland and plans to increase the annual capacity of textile fiber production up to 500 tons.
Investors include H&M Group, the Finnish state-owned energy company Fortum, and Virala, a digital marketing firm.
The recycled fiber is targeted to high volume garment and textile applications like denim, T-shirts, sweaters, bed linens and non-woven materials. The fiber boasts a natural soft look and touch, antibacterial and bio-degradable properties and consistent quality.
Infinited Fiber has a 30 percent to 40 percent better color uptake than competing fibers, meaning it requires less energy and chemicals. Meanwhile, production water usage for 1 kg of Infinited Fiber is 50 liters, compared to cotton fiber that requires 20,000 liters per kilogram.
In addition, according to the company, is that it’s cost competitive.
“A problem in the textile industry is the growing demand for cotton that simply isn’t available,” said Petri Alava, CEO of IFC. “We have proven that for example in denim applications, the commercial quality requirements can be reached with our Infinited Fiber. The global denim industry is pushing us to bring our solutions to the market.”
IFC aligns with H&M’s goals to become fully circular. The group aims for 100 percent recycled or other sustainably sourced materials by 2030.
“Infinited Fiber has proven significant potential to accelerate the journey from a linear to a circular fashion industry. We look forward to being part of developing and scaling this technology in the coming years,” said Erik Karlsson, investment manager for sustainable fashion at H&M group’s investment arm CO:LAB.