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Lenzing’s Refibra Fiber Steps Up Recycled Content to Enter Footwear

The Lenzing Group said it has reached a new milestone for its Refibra technology, with a 30 percent increase in recycled raw materials derived from upcycled cotton scraps collected from the garment manufacturing process used to make the fiber.

The upgraded offering is now available in the family of Tencel lyocell fibers with low fibrillation and moisture management properties. With fibers also featuring enhanced breathability, Lenzing said the new fiber type, which is also smoother and stronger, is especially suitable for knitted applications, such as knitted footwear uppers.

Tencel fibers with Refibra technology come from responsibly harvested wood combined with reclaimed cotton scraps. The resulting pulp is then manufactured in Lenzing’s closed loop production facility. The fibers are also compostable and biodegradable in soil and water, key attributes that make possible its contributions to circular economy.

“There is definitely an ongoing shift in consumer demand,” Birgit Schnetzlinger, Lenzing’s business manager for footwear, said. “The new consumers think more critically. They want to know, where the product is coming from and ask for transparency. Social media gives consumers a voice and it is a strong tool to express opinions and influence. Ethical consumerism is just at its beginning.”

Lenzing has also developed a new identification system to assure customers that the products they buy are made with sustainable Tencel fibers produced with Refibra technology. Lenzing noted that it works closely with vendors on one side and customers on the other to facilitate process changes or product developments that contribute to higher sustainability and circular economy. Through co-branding programs with retailers and brands, the company conveys the value of Tencel x Refibra.

Last month, Lenzing and Delta Galil struck a collaboration deal to uses Delta’s Galil’s surplus of cotton supply for textile-to-textile recycling to produce Lenzing’s Tencel x Refibra lyocell.

Lenzing said the success of the two-year-old Refibra technology has been made possible thanks to the partnership with Delta Galil, the Israel-based vertical manufacturer. Lenzing credited Delta Galil’s similar commitment to the circular economy for fueling the research and development, and engineering innovations required to allow the percentage of recycled content of raw material for Refibra technology to reach one third.