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Spinnova Applies Circular Fiber Tech to Leather

A new partnership between sustainable natural material company Spinnova and KT Trading, the leather partner to premium shoe brand Ecco, has resulted in a fiber made from leather waste.

Possessing the natural durability of leather and the lightweight feel of a traditional fabric, Respin’s pilot scale production will start at the end of 2021. Following thorough research and testing, Spinnova and KT Trading have succeeded in developing a natural leather fabric made from leather waste without harmful chemicals.

“With this new textile, we have taken yet another step toward completing the circular economy for leather,” Kristian Geert Jensen, CEO of KT Trading, said.

Spinnova’s CEO and co-founder Janne Poranen, said together with KT Trading, Spinnova has established the Respin company, a new joint venture. The partners are already constructing a leather fiber production pilot plant in Finland.

“We are delighted to close the leather loop with our partners,” Poranen said. “This is not just about upcycling, but also creating a promising new material that the industry has been waiting for. This is also a concrete example of the fact that we have a technology that can use multiple different feedstocks.”

Ecco’s Applied Research division and Spinnova have been in a research and development collaboration since 2018 and have made successful trials with spinning the protein biomass into fiber. Processing leather raw material does not require further technology development from Spinnova. The company already has proof of concept from using the method on wood-based raw material.

Headquartered in Switzerland, KT Trading is an international company responsible for sourcing the raw material for leather.

“Our partnership with Spinnova combined with the support from Ecco gives us a unique opportunity to be frontrunners in our industry,” Jensen said. “The pioneering spirit that characterizes both KT Trading, Spinnova and Ecco continues to fuel our passion for technological innovation, and with Respin, we have made a truly unique breakthrough in the way we bring leather making to the next level.”

Based in Finland, Spinnova has developed breakthrough technology for making textile fiber out of wood or waste, such as textile or food waste, without harmful chemicals.