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Worn Again Technologies Gets $9M Investment to Scale Up Circular Recycling Processes

Worn Again Technologies, which is developing circular polymer recycling processes, has secured up to 8 million euros ($9 million) in new equity capital from investors, including follow-on commitments from two of its existing strategic investors, H&M Group and Sulzer.

The company said this significant financial backing is a vote of confidence in its enhanced recycling technology and proposed circular licensing business model that promises to be crucial in closing the loop in the end-of-use polyester and polyester, cotton and cellulose sectors.

The investment provides more than two years of operating capital and will be used to accelerate and complete the company’s fundamental technology development through the research and development phase. It will also provide the base financing required in the next phase of bringing the technology to market.

Worn Again Technologies said it will benefit from the expertise of H&M Group’s supply chain and consumer-facing business, and the advanced manufacturing and industrial capabilities of Sulzer Chemtech.

“Having worked with founder Cyndi Rhoades and the impressive team since 2013, we’re thrilled to continue our journey by further investing in Worn Again Technologies as they move into an exciting new phase towards commercialization over the coming years,” Erik Karlsson, investment manager at H&M Group’s investment arm CO:LAB, said. “Their regenerative recycling technology not only aligns perfectly with the H&M group’s vision to become fully circular, but also has the potential to benefit the entire industry.”

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Keith Wiggins, CEO of Worn Again Technologies, said it is a pivotal time for H&M, Sulzer and others to be investing in Worn Again Technologies because it shows they are behind the company’s technology that can replace the use of virgin resources by recapturing raw materials from non-reusable products.

“The investment is a considerable step forward in building momentum for Worn Again’s technology for the emerging circular economy,” Wiggins said.

The investment comes on the heels of the opening of the Worn Again Technologies pilot plant in January. In addition to technology development, work is underway with end-of-use textile owners and engaging other potential stakeholders in preparation for the next phase of development that will focus on a larger demonstration facility, expected in 2021.

The company said with essential support from investors and a strong scale-up plan, validation of its innovation is on the horizon and is a crucial step towards the industrialization of the technology.

Worn Again Technologies is developing a polymer recycling processes that will enable raw materials in textiles and polyester packaging to be kept in constant circulation, driving economic, social and environmental benefits. The technology has been developed to support the shift from linear supply chains to a circular system where raw materials are recycled, reducing the use of the world’s finite resources.

In addition to H&M and Sulzer, the company’s strategic investors include Himes Corporation and Directex, as well as the support of brands and partners such as Kering, Asics Europe, Sympatex, Dibella and Dhana.

The company has also benefited from engagement with many parts of the industry, including grant funding and direct collaboration with the Fashion for Good scaling program, Cradle to Cradle initial certified outputs and EU-Interreg funded Fibersort textile sorting project.