A company that produces sustainable textile fibres made from waste materials has raised EUR3.7m (US$4.2m) in funding from investors, including global fashion retailer H&M, to scale up production at its plant in Finland.

Infinited Fiber Co (IFC) currently runs a 50-ton pilot plant in Finland and plans to increase annual production capacity to 500 tons in order to meet the growing demand from the market.

Other investors include clean energy company Fortum, and Finnish investment firm Virala.

The company has created a closed loop technology that enables cotton-rich textile waste to be used over and over again by producing a strong, sustainable fibre without compromising quality and comfort, it says. The manufacturing process can also use most material containing cellulose, such as recycled paper, cardboard and agricultural waste such as straw. 

IFC says properties of the Infinited Fiber include a natural soft look and feel, consistently proven quality, 30-40% better colour uptake than competing fibres, antibacterial and bio-degradable properties, and excellent moisture absorption qualities. 

"A problem in the textile industry is the growing demand for cotton that simply isn't available," explains Petri Alava, CEO of IFC. "We have proven that, for example, in denim applications, the commercial quality requirements can be reached with our Infinited Fiber. The global denim industry is pushing us to bring our solutions to the market. Our reborn Infinited Fiber is re-usable forever, carbon neutral and applicable like natural cotton without any microplastics harming the environment."

Erik Karlsson, investment manager for sustainable fashion at H&M group's investment arm CO:LAB, adds IFC's innovation "aligns perfectly with the H&M group's sustainability goals and vision to become fully circular."

Earlier this month H&M invested in a digital system that aims to close the loop on every garment. The retailer also introduced three new sustainable materials – including leather alternative Piñatex – into the new spring 2019 collection from its eco-friendly Conscious Exclusive line.