Inditex‘s Zara brand has used BASF‘s loopamid, a polyamide 6 (PA6), also known as nylon 6 to produce a jacket that is now available worldwide.

Loopamid is reported to have the capability to recycle post-industrial and post-consumer textile waste, including fabric mixtures like PA6 and elastane.

The discarded textiles for feedstock were classified, sorted and provided by ModaRe, a take-back programme operated by the charity organisation Carita.

The technology behind loopamid allows for textile-to-textile recycling, ensuring that fibres and materials can be recycled over multiple cycles while maintaining characteristics identical to those of conventional virgin polyamide.

Zara is said to have embraced the “design for recycling” approach with its new jacket as all of its elements from fabrics and buttons to filling, hook and loop, and zipper are crafted from 100% loopamid.

BASF’s monomers division president Dr. Ramkumar Dhruva explained: “Our loopamid has the potential to revolutionise the PA6 market for the better. We are in the process of scaling up our technology to serve our customers with commercial quantities.

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“The capsule jacket together with Inditex is proof that circularity is possible, and we are eager to further drive the sustainable transformation of the textile industry.” 

The collaboration extends beyond BASF and Inditex. It involves leading clothing manufacturing companies who have started to integrate loopamid into various garment components:

  • Italian company RadiciGroup has been working on turning loopamid polymer into different types of yarn that hold various characteristics.
  • Japanese fastening products firm YKK along with multinational Velcro companies have used loopamid to make plastic components for zippers, snap buttons and hook and loop fasteners,
  • Spanish companies Uniter, Tessitura Vignetta, Freudenberg, and Gütermann from Germany have developed inner labels, filling materials and sewing threads using loopamid.

Inditex’s chief sustainability officer Javier Losada emphasised the importance of collaboration in driving innovation and transforming textile waste into a valuable resource. He said: “This project is a first step to move towards a circular solution, as the industry still needs to boost new collecting and recycling capacities in order to close the loop and scale recycling for post-consumer waste.”

This joint effort aligns with ambitious sustainability goals set by both companies. By 2030, BASF said it aims to double its sales generated with circular economy solutions to €17bn.

Inditex said it strives to have 100% of its textile products made exclusively from materials with a smaller environmental footprint by 2030. The fashion company hopes to incorporate a quarter (25%) of its textile fibres from emerging materials not currently available on an industrial scale, using 40% from traditional recycled materials, and integrating 25% from organic and regenerative fibres.

In December ReHubs, an initiative launched by the European Apparel and Textile Industry (Euratex), welcomed its first industry partners, including Inditex and Mango to advance the textile recycling capacity across Europe.