A British clothing manufacturer is rolling out a new clothing material made from reclaimed post-consumer cotton textiles.
Called Remill, the material can be used to created virtually “all the different types of clothes we wear today,” according to Teemill, an Isle of Wight-based open-source platform that creates 100 percent organic cotton T-shirts using renewable energy.
Teemill’s items, which are printed on demand and in real time, are themselves designed to be sent back to its factory at the end of their lives for “remanufacturing.” The company incentivizes customer returns by exchanging every worn-out tee with a 5-pound ($6.50) discount that can be applied to a future purchase.
With Remill, Teemill is able to offer the fruits of its recovery to more than 50,000 online stores connected to its platforms, as well as their customers.
“Remill proves that a fundamentally different way of operating is possible today,” Mart Drake-Knight, co-founder of Teemill, said in a statement. “Now that we’ve built the digital infrastructure to power a circular economy, our goal is to scale it by sharing access to our technology via our platform.”
Existing partners already leveraging the new technology include the nonprofits World Wildlife Fund International and War Child UK, eco-friendly search engine Ecosia and social-media influencer Very British Problems. The platform is free to adopt, Drake-Knight said, which means anyone can build their own sustainable fashion brand.
“Access lets people participate and co-create the products they want to see in the world,” he added.
Overall, one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or incinerated every second, according to estimates from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
Unlike recycling, which has a limited number of iterations before ending up in the landfill, Drake-Knight said, circular remanufacturing is about “closing the loop” so the landfill is never a destination. Because Remill is derived from only natural, biodegradable organic cotton, rather than fossil-fuel-based polyester, Teemill isn’t just closing the loop, it’s “cleaning it up, too.”
“With natural materials and renewable energy, brands can create designs that never have to go into landfill,” he said. “That, for us, is the future of fashion.”