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Crystal Denim Gives Denim Scraps a Second Life at China Factory

Crystal International Group Limited, a Hong Kong-based apparel manufacturer that produces more than 470 million pieces of clothing each year, recently announced an initiative that has the potential to make a major impact in circularity.

The company’s aptly named new initiative, Second Life, takes pre-consumer cut waste from industry peers and recyclers and turns it into new fabric for a closed-loop denim process. The fabric will be certified with Recycled Claim Standard (RCS), and can be organized in a way that provides full traceability so brands know exactly where their denim is coming from.

The initiative is set to launch in Q2 2020 at Crystal’s eco-friendly factory Zhongshan Yida Apparel Ltd. in China. With 5,000 employees and around 20 million pieces produced annually, the facility has the potential to make positive changes at scale.

“With the development of the closed-loop denim, Crystal aims to drive the circular fashion in a traceable and transparent way, and maximize the value and practicality of waste recycling,” Miles Lam, Crystal Denim’s assistant general manager of product development, said. “Complementing with other eco-friendly measures throughout the production cycle such as sustainable washing and clean energy, we do not only work towards Crystal’s vision of sustainability, but also create the highest degree of sustainable denim products to our customers.”

Circularity has been promoted by the denim supply chain as one of the greatest strides insustainability, as it reduces the industry’s cotton, water and chemical usage.

Recycled content was the common thread across exhibitors at Kingpins New York last month, where the supply chain presented new (or expanded) recycled concepts for Spring/Summer 2021. And recently, the Lenzing Group’s Refibra technology reached a new milestone with the first successful production of Tencel Lyocell fibers using post-consumer cotton waste as part of the recycled raw material portion of the fiber’s content.