Isko’s circularity efforts are getting a boost. The Turkish denim mill is the latest to sign the Dutch Denim Deal, an initiative that calls for a new industry standard of using 5 percent post-consumer recycled cotton in the production of all denim garments. The public-private initiative was established by the Dutch Government in October 2020, following the EU Green Deal and Circular Action Plan, and includes more than 40 signatories like PVH Europe, Scotch & Soda and Kings of Indigo on the brand side, as well as Calik Denim, Ereks and Recover from the supply chain.
The initiative also includes a goal of using 20 percent post-consumer recycled cotton in 3 million pairs of jeans by 2023—a target that is proving to be much more difficult to achieve than the 5 percent minimum. Isko’s participation helps bring the initiative closer to its goals.
“The Dutch Denim Deal fits perfectly into Isko’s circular strategy,” said Marc Lensen, Isko’s head of global communication. “Our scale and knowledge of sustainable technological solutions will increase the overall impact and accelerate circularity in the denim chain.”
As the creator of the R-Two platform, which incorporates recycled fibers as well as reused cotton that comes from its own production loss, Isko is hyper-focused on closing the loop in denim production. Circularity efforts include its 2020 licensing agreement for Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel’s (HKRITA) award-winning Green Machine, a technology that fully separates and recycles cotton and polyester blends at scale. The closed-loop process uses only water, heat and less than 5 percent biodegradable green chemicals.
In 2021, Isko also joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Jeans Redesign project, which established a set of durability and recyclability standards like keeping a minimum of 98 percent cellulose fibers by weight, including easy-to-disassemble materials and phasing out metal rivets.
To further its efforts, the mill partnered with Swedish research and development company MoRe Research, a part of Rise Research Institutes of Sweden, to continuously develop new, sustainable technologies that look to waste and cellulose-based materials to close fashion’s production loop. At the time, Isko noted that the partnership was just “one of many projects” it’s working on for a more sustainable future.