Bringing its Refibra technology to the public sector for the first time, Lenzing Group has joined with Belgium-based UTEXBEL, a vertically integrated textile company that specializes in protective wear and workwear fabrics, to provide uniforms for security employees of the Belgian Federal Public Service for Justice (FPS Justice).
Using Tencel-branded fibers with Refibra technology and recycled polyester, the collaboration with Lenzing will enable UTEXBEL to provide 80,000 prison personnel shirts for FPS Justice security guards.
Lenzing’s Refibra technology upcycles cotton scraps from garment production and combines them with wood pulp to produce new virgin Tencel lyocell fibers. The fibers are identifiable in yarns, fabrics and final garments thanks to Lenzing’s fiber identification technology that allows for full traceability of the fiber and is designed to confirm fiber origin, adding to the final product’s supply chain transparency.
“We’re delighted to extend our partnership with UTEXBEL to bring circularity and traceability to public procurement,” Alexandra Steger, business development for workwear at Lenzing, said. “The EU has been pushing strongly for responsible design and use of raw materials in textiles, so it is exciting to see that this has reached the public sector with FPS Justice. While we rely on private sector consumers to adopt a personal sense of responsibility, the authorities can make a strong impact by mandating sustainability in public tenders.”
Stager said by utilizing Tencel lyocell fibers with Refibra technology, UXTEBEL is able to reduce the use of new resources and create workwear products that are more sustainable, while being durable and comfortable at the same time.
“We see sustainability as a key priority and are working on several cooperative projects with our partners in the fields of sustainable development, quality and logistics,” said Henk Vandendriessche, area manager at UTEXBEL. “We are proud to partner with Lenzing on a collaboration which represents a milestone in advocating sustainability in public procurement as we continue to develop, produce and offer the best yarns and fabrics to cater for all needs, respecting the environment and the well-being of both the workers and the end-users.”
Lenzing said that while implementing sustainability in public procurement–usually focused on performance and price–is still at an early stage, sustainability and traceability are becoming a priority driven by recent European legislation.
To play a more prominent role in supporting the development of the workwear industry, Lenzing said it will continue to collaborate with partners and organizations that support similar goals and care for the environment in the same way.