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Industry leaders come together to initiate a closed loop program

Industry News | June 18, 2012 | By:

Victor, Designtex and Steelcase announced today a collaborative effort with Unifi to initiate a program to recycle textile industry waste back into fiber and yarn that will be used in first quality fabrics, creating a closed loop process. Fabric waste from pre-approved Victor products at Steelcase’s Athens, Ala. facility will be segregated, collected and sent to Unifi’s REPREVE® Recycling Center in N.C. to be recycled into fiber and yarn. This yarn will be sent to Victor to be woven into new products for Designtex and Steelcase.

Complicated logistics are the reason waste reclamation has not yet become an industry practice. These companies are committed to working through the obstacles and extending their responsibility to capture production waste—and ultimately consumer waste—to feed back into their own supply chain as raw materials.

The REPREVE Textile Takeback Program is a unique recycling program that reclaims various polyester based fabrics, including supply chain waste and post-consumer fabrics that have reached their end of use. Initially, the source of the fabric waste going into this stream will be drawn from the apparel supply chain. In the future, this program will also include fabric waste from Steelcase manufacturing.

Out of this process will come Loop 2 Loop, an Eco Intelligence® product designed by Designtex and woven at Victor. Loop 2 Loop will utilize the new REPREVE Takeback fiber.

“Loop 2 Loop represents the next generation of our Eco Intelligence Initiatives,” said Alain Duval, president of Victor. “It has been our goal all along to design and manufacture products that can remain in a closed loop system of manufacture, and this collaboration will enable us to begin to achieve this goal.”

Loop 2 Loop will be created from recycled content as well be designed and manufactured for future recycling. The companies foresee Loop 2 Loop and other products retaining their raw materials’ integrity and value through multiple lifetimes. A prototype of this exciting new concept will be on display in the Designtex showroom at NeoCon 2012.

“This project represents a major innovation in textile design, manufacturing, and recycling, as well as logistics,” said Carol Derby, Director of Environmental Strategy at Designtex. “This new closed loop initiative wouldn’t exist without Steelcase’s ability to segregate and accumulate waste, Unifi’s unique textile recycling technology, Victor’s manufacturing capabilities, and Designtex’s ability to intentionally design fabrics for future recyclability. This is collaboration at its very best, in the service of sustainability.”

Victor Group is a leading North American-based textile company specializing in sustainable and innovative fabrics designed for the contract, residential, outdoor, apparel and specialty markets.

Founded in 1961, Designtex is a design, marketing, sales and distribution business focused on providing insight-led environment enhancement through the application of premium surfaces. Its products are designed to enhance seating, walls, work stations, floors and ceilings.

For 100 years, Steelcase Inc. offers a portfolio of furnishings, products and services designed to unlock human promise and support social, economic and environmental sustainability.

Source: Lambert, Edwards & Associates

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