A member of the textile recycling technology industry for seven decades, Recover now plans to grow its recycled cotton fiber output by more than 16 times in the next five years.
The funding for this move, as well as further sustainability initiatives, comes from Story3 Capital. The alternative investment manager made a “substantial control investment” in the material sciences company, Recover CEO Alfredo Ferre told Sourcing Journal. He and his family will remain CEO and significant minority owners, respectively, he added.
“We immediately saw the potential to impact the pent-up demand for recycled cotton by scaling production and working with the industry to innovate and migrate to Recover Fibers,” Ben Malka, operating partner at Story3 Capital and executive chairman of Recover, said in a statement.
Recover will scale recycled cotton fiber production from 12,000 metric tons annually to 200,000 metric tons per year by 2025, Ferre said. This will save nearly 3 trillion liters of water each year, equivalent to the drinking water consumed by 3 billion people annually, and allow 500,000 acres of land to be directed away from cotton cultivation, Recover claimed.
“The demand for recycled cotton is being created by a multitude of factors, from government regulation to an increase in environmental awareness, the growth of fast fashion and the anticipated cotton supply challenges due to land and water availability in the next decade,” Ferre said.
The material sciences company has seen scaling demand for recycled cotton since 2015, according to Ferre. However, he said the Covid-19 pandemic this year “has elevated the sense of urgency around the planet’s health and the importance of sustainability in our industry.”
Recover recycles industrial and pre- and post-consumer cotton waste, “replacing the need to cultivate cotton, limiting the use of dyes through its ColorBlend system and reducing textile landfill waste,” the company said. The fiber is ultimately spun into yarn by supply-chain partners and transformed into finished apparel garments and home textiles. Recover has supplied its recycled cotton and cotton blend fibers to brands such as Wrangler, H&M Group, Tommy Hilfiger, G-Star Raw, The North Face, Billabong and Bonobos.
Earlier this year, Ralph Lauren made its own investment in recycled cotton with Natural Fiber Welding, a sustainable material science startup that reuses natural fibers such as cotton waste to create more durable, high-performance materials and goods. As a part of the investment, Ralph Lauren said it will help scale Natural Fiber Welding’s patented process and develop performance apparel made from natural, sustainable materials.