The collaboration will result in Avery Dennison’s intelligent care labels being attached to Ambercycle’s garments. The labels feature a QR code that links to an app offering a digital experience that details how that specific garment was produced and how it should be looked after. The app is powered by Avery Dennison’s data platform.
All garments sold in the U.S. are required to have a physical care and content label to communicate product information, such as washing instructions and material composition. This information is not just helpful for consumers, it is also vital for recyclers and resellers as it allows them to easily identify what the garment consists of after the original owner has disposed of it.
Avery Dennison’s new digital care label solution is a significant innovation as it allows for traceability and transparency across the supply chain. In addition, new digital revenue streams become possible for the brand as additional products can be marketed to the consumer though the new direct-to-consumer touchpoint.
Currently many consumers remove the physical care label, while brands underutilize it, the company noted. This increases the risk of the garment ending up in landfill rather than being resold or recycled. In contrast, the new digital label helps advance the circular economy as recyclers can be confident of composition and resellers will be able to check authenticity.
Ambercycle, Avery Dennison’s first partner for its digital care label, converts end-of-life textile waste into new yarns for apparel brands and manufacturers. Its garments are created from polyester textiles that were destined for landfill, but are instead broken down to a molecular level, turned into pellets and then spun into Cycora yarns that can be processed by garment manufacturers in the same way as virgin yarns.
“These labels are an exciting development, as consumers can discover their garment’s story, see how it was made and understand the environmental benefits from their choice,” Sarah Swenson, global senior sustainability manager, Avery Dennison RBIS, said. “When the consumer no longer needs the item, they can scan the QR code to see what needs to happen to properly dispose of the garment. In this case, if they send the garment back to Ambercycle, it will be recycled back into a new textile. Brands can benefit from access to a deeper level of data both in terms of shopper engagement and also understanding just how many items remain in the circular economy.”
Michael Hu, director of digitalization at Avery Dennison, said the company is providing a physical trigger to a digital experience, a data platform and applications for brands, consumers and the wider apparel industry to utilize.
“Our raw materials are end-of-life textile clothing that we regenerate into new Cycora yarns and fabrics,” Shay Sethi, CEO of Ambercycle, said. “A key concern in this process is the upfront identification and sorting the different types of fabrics to inform the best end-of-life solutions. A digital care label is essential to embracing the broader vision for circularity, as it enables a more streamlined and scalable way for us to regenerate material.”
Sethi said as Ambercycle built the physical infrastructure to take in and reprocess material, it knew it had to think about the digital infrastructure to enable full circularity.
“The digital care labels in collection one will help us track Cycora garments so that their path to be ‘ambercycled’ again at their end of life is seamless,” Sethi said. “Together with Avery Dennison, we believe this will be a transformative step forward into the inevitable circular future.”