We aim to revolutionize textile recycling with two strong partners
Turning the recycling industry upside down – that’s the goal of our consortium, consisting of a non-profit climate foundation, fiber research, and us as resellers. Our aim is to completely rethink the global megatrend of textile recycling in a holistic manner. This involves not only exploring innovative approaches to mixed-fiber recycling but also questioning and optimizing all sustainability aspects in the process chain, from CO2 reduction to social factors.
The first major customer is thrilled: „We are on an incredibly exciting journey, full of positive surprises. This could be akin to a small revolution if we maintain this momentum,“ says our Managing Director Dinko Muhic enthusiastically. „An initial major customer is equally excited and has already been secured for a pilot project before the company’s establishment.“ Nearly two years ago, Dinko Muhic, Markus Beckmann (ITA-Institute for Textile Technology), and health entrepreneur and climate advocate Wolfgang K. Hoever (cooldown earth foundation) began intensively addressing the challenges. There were many ideas, but the breakthrough came only this year.
The Mission: Making the impossible possible
Since then, there have been numerous trial runs to refine the novel recycling process. We have successfully worked with various mixed textiles, which currently constitute 30 to 40 percent of global apparel waste. „We already have a recycling rate of over 65 percent, and we are optimistic that we can significantly increase this,“ says Markus Beckmann.
The goal is upcycling
According to the German Federal Environment Agency, only one percent of all recycled textiles are transformed back into new clothing items; the rest is processed into cleaning rags and relatively inferior materials. This is expected to change significantly with the new approach: „What also sets us apart from previous recycling methods is the concept of a model workshop, where the development of high-quality products (upcycling) and the design of future recycling-friendly products (Design 4 Recycling) take center stage,“ explains Professor Stefan Schlichter from the ITA location in Augsburg. The plan is now to further perfect the processes and establish a high-performance corporate structure.
Important: Economy and ecology in balance
To ensure maximum sustainability, the Technical University of Berlin and the eco-balance startup Greenzero.me from Munich are involved in the project. The seriousness of all partners is evident: „We will reinvest over 50 percent of the profit in research and global non-profit projects. So, it’s not about profit maximization for us but about maximizing ecological and economic harmony,“ says Wolfgang K. Hoever regarding the use of proceeds.
Our partners: The cooldown earth foundation is a private non-profit foundation based in Krefeld. It operates across borders in various fields, bringing together creative minds from culture, business, and politics for a better climate in our society and on the planet.
The Institute for Textile Technology (ITA) at RWTH Aachen University is a core university research and teaching institution of the ITA Group International Centre for Sustainable Textiles. It aims, among other things, to secure the holistic biotransformation of textile technology and the use of biological principles for circular value creation processes.“