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July 1, 2019

New viscose fibre made from recycled cotton textiles

By Beth Wright

Chinese viscose producer Tangshan Sanyou has managed to produce viscose staple fibre from 50% post-consumer recycled cotton textiles on an industrial scale, in a move that helps move the industry away from harvesting virgin forests, cotton fields or oil wells as the source of its raw materials.

The new recycled textile is called Tangcell, and uses recycled cotton textiles supplied by Swedish company Re:newcell. The remaining 50% is made of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Chain of Custody certified wood pulp and audited by CanopyStyle.

“The introduction of a new viscose fabric made from 50% recycled textiles represents an important leap forward for the global textile and fashion industries,” says Nicole Rycroft, founder and executive director at environmental not-for-profit Canopy, which works with 198 international apparel brands and retailers to eliminate ancient and endangered forests from their
viscose and rayon supply chains.

Each year, 20m tonnes of cotton textiles and 6.5m tonnes of viscose textiles are consumed worldwide and converted into garments, beddings and personal care items such as wipes. 

“This breakthrough proves that we don’t need to harvest virgin forests, cotton fields or oil wells to make high-quality fashion materials at a big scale,” adds Mattias Jonsson, CEO of Re:newcell.

“Together, Tangshan Sanyou and Re:newcell have delivered what the fashion industry needs to make a transition to sustainability – a climate positive, low-impact and truly circular raw material. We will now work together with Tangshan Sanyou to build on this success and bring many thousands of tonnes of recycled materials to the market.”

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