Renewcell is celebrating.
The Swedish sustaintech company, which recycles cellulostic textile waste and transforms it into Circulose material, has shipped its first batch of dissolving pulp produced at its new Renewcell 1 plant in Sundsvall, a Swedish city approximately 230 miles north of Stockholm, to a client.
The sale is the latest step in realizing the facility’s initial capacity of 60,000 tons per year.
“After building the new factory in Sweden this first delivery from Renewcell 1 is an exciting milestone for us as a company, as well as a major step forward towards making fashion circular at scale. We’re excited to continue our ramp-up and continue to deliver Circulose to our fiber customers and brand partners,” said Tricia Carey, the publicly traded company’s chief commercial officer.
Finally getting the product to market is the latest advance for the growing and active recycler, whose Circulose is the first 100 percent recycled fashion fiber to be produced from old clothes at an industrial scale. To create it, Renewcell removes trims, dyes and contaminants such as polyester from old garments and then pulverizes and dries them to create sheets of “pure Circulose” that are transformed into textiles.
The process is an entirely closed looped one, meaning all chemicals and water are reused in the factory.
The Sundsvall facility, the world’s first commercial-scale textile pulp mill, was inaugurated in November and joined the extant Renewcell plant in Kristinehamn, west of Stockholm. That same month Renewcell signed a letter of intent with Eastman, a leading U.S. cellulosic acetate fiber producer, its first with a U.S.-based fiber maker.
In December it signed a five-year cooperation with Lenzing Group that includes the sale of 80,000 to 100,000 tons of dissolving pulp to the Austrian fiber maker for use in the production of cellulosic fibers for fashion and other textile applications.
Overall, 2022 was a busy one for the now 11-year-old company which has counted H&M as its second largest investor since December 2021. In January, in collaboration with Chinese viscose filament yarn producer Yibin Hiest Fiber Limited Corporation, Renewcell successfully used 100 percent Circulose dissolving pulp in industrial-scale viscose filament yarn production.
And in March it signed letters of intent with Japanese cellulosic fiber producer Daiwabo Rayon Co. Ltd and Birla Cellulose, the pulp and fiber business of Grasim Industries Ltd., a flagship company of India’s Aditya Birla Group and one of the world’s largest man-made cellulosic fiber producers.
Ganni and Zara also introduced collections made with Circulose last year.