The Discover Natural Fibres Initiative has found a winner in Wecycled, a patented system by Germany’s Velener Texil that turns pre-consumer cotton waste into new yarns.
Up to 30 percent of the yarn used in weaving and knitting mills is typically discarded, mostly for “technical reasons,” Velener Texil said. Textile manufacturers often have to pay money to dispose of this unused raw material.
Instead of letting spent cones go to waste, the company collects them from partner mills, then employs people with disabilities to recover the unused cotton in special workshops. The paper cones are recycled using traditional means, and the cotton is fed into large spinning machines that “rotate” the individual fibers into a single skein.
Because these fibers have a shorter staple length, they are blended with conventional or Global Organic Textile Standard–certified cotton for added durability. Customers can also request bespoke cotton blends to meet the needs of different products, including bed linen and knitwear.
Its facilities, Velener Texil said, meet the “highest standards” of worker and environmental protection.
“We vouch for the working conditions across all stages of the textile chain,” the company wrote on its website. “It is very important for us that everybody in the textile chain can live from their work.”
Wecycled’s “sophisticated method” creates yarns that meet the same requirements of color-fastness and strength as high-quality consumer products, said Velener Textil, which will receive the 2018 Natural Fibers Award during the International Textile Manufacturers Federation’s annual conference in Nairobi in September.
Ernst Grimmelt, CEO and sales manager of yarns at the company, dubbed Wecycled’s closed-loop and traceable process “as close as it gets to no-waste textile manufacturing.”