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Lycra, Itochu Launch Coolmax and Thermolite Fibers From Textile Waste

The Lycra Company has launched its first performance offerings made from 100 percent textile waste.

The company’s Coolmax and Thermolite EcoMade fibers made from textile waste are the result of a strategic collaboration with Itochu Corporation, a general trading company with strength in consumer-related sectors, including the textile business. The new offerings pair the brand equity and performance attributes of these leading cooling and warming brands with the sustainability benefits of textile waste, helping to address a critical industry need.

“We are pleased to announce our alliance with Itochu in helping to address textile waste, which represents a substantial sustainability challenge as the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is sent to landfills or incinerated every second,” said Julien Born, chief commercial officer for the Lycra Company. “This collaboration exemplifies the synergistic approach we have to develop products and technologies that support a more sustainable future for our vast global customer base.”

Integrating textile waste technology with Coolmax and Thermolite fibers provides consumers with the performance attributes they want, while making these fibers in a new and responsible way. A special depolymerization and refining process is used to convert textile waste, which consists of scraps from garment manufacturers, into fibers with properties comparable to virgin polyester, according to the company. The new fibers are available in filament and staple forms, suitable for common textile processes and insulation batting uses.

Considered among the leading the cooling and warming performance solutions, Coolmax and Thermolite fibers have been made from recycled raw materials such as recycled PET bottles for many years. The company will continue to offer these products in parallel with those made from textile waste.

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These new products can be purchased from the Lycra Company, except in Japan where Itochu will be responsible for sales and marketing. A variety of mills have access to the new offerings and will shortly begin to develop fabrics with them.

The company said this is the first of several innovations it is working on in textile and garment recycling. Laying the groundwork for a more circular future is one of the key objectives of the Lycra Company’s Planet Agenda sustainability platform.

Headquartered in Wilmington, Del., the Lycra Company innovates and produces fiber and technology solutions for the apparel and personal care industries. With approximately 100 offices in 62 countries, Itochu engages in domestic trading, import and export of products such as textiles, machinery, metals, minerals, energy, chemicals, food, realty, information and communications technology, and finance.