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July 12, 2022

Inditex invests in first poly-cotton recycler to eliminate clothing waste

Inditex has contributed to a US$30m funding round to help circular fashion company, Circ, expand its poly-cotton recycler designed to recycle clothing and eliminate clothing waste.

By Laura Husband

Inditex, eco investment company Breakthrough Energy Ventures, US textile manufacturer Miliken & Company and investment firm Lansdowne Partners all contributed to the funding round that will be used to complete engineering work on Circ’s larger-scale poly-cotton recycler facilities. Previous investors joining Circ’s latest round of funding include 8090 Partners, Alante Capital, Card Sound Capital, and Marubeni.

The funding will also help the company to continue its commercial launches with key partners and add core team members in engineering, R&D, management, and business development.

Circ developed a technology system that returns clothes to the raw materials from which they were made in order to preserve the earth’s natural resources and the company hopes this latest investment will help it fulfil its mission of protecting the planet from the cost of clothing.

Circ’s technology is said to be capable of separating and recovering mixed polymer streams, specifically, any blend of polyester and cotton, which account for most fabrics manufactured and the company says it is projected to substantially reduce carbon emissions created by the fashion industry.

Circ’s CEO Peter Majeranowski explains: “With this investment round, we’ve secured suppliers, purchasers and major financial stakeholders to establish a much cleaner fashion future. We already have all the clothing we need to make all the clothing we’ll ever need. Now, alongside our partners, we can make recycled garments accessible to every shopper.”

Why is Inditex investing in the poly-cotton recycler?

Inditex’s CEO Oscar Garcia Maceiras is excited that Circ is Inditex’s first venture investment in a clean technology company. He says: “In partnership with Circ, we are committed to promoting the transformation of the entire fashion industry. We look forward to contributing our knowledge and corporate capabilities to Circ’s rapid success and achievement of industrial scale.”

Breakthrough Energy Ventures’ Carmichael Roberts adds: “We see Circ’s ability to recycle blended textiles as a significant breakthrough that can help us to achieve our global carbon goals by reducing the carbon intensity of textile raw materials.”

A number of apparel fashion brands and organisations were early investors of Circ’s innovation, including outdoor fashion brand Patagonia, global initiative Fashion for Good and investment firm Marubeni.

Circ announced a partnership with international technology group Andritz last year that was focused on the rapid scaling of its patented recycling process with the help of Andritz’s global reach and expertise in equipment manufacturing and engineering.

Last month (June 2022) Inditex entered a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Australian biotechnology company Nanollose that includes the non-exclusive delivery of “tree-free” (and/or blended) nullarbor lyocell samples from the company’s current pilot programme with Birla Cellulose. 

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