A Swedish technology company that has developed a process for closed loop recycling of cellulosic fibres has pledged to provide the textile industry with an alternative source of raw materials that protect ancient and endangered forests.

Re:newcell, the company behind the pioneering technology, has drawn up its ancient forest friendly sourcing policy with the help of Canopy, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to protecting the world's forests, species and climate.

"By providing an alternative recycled raw material to the dissolving pulp industry, Re:newcell will reduce the demand for wood fibre and thereby help protect intact forests and the animals that live there," it says.

The company's technology enables new textiles to be produced from used cotton and other cellulosic fibres such as viscose and lyocell. It recycles these materials into a dissolving pulp, which can be fed into the common textile production chain to make new fibres of a similar high quality. The process is cheap and does not require any chemicals that are environmentally harmful. 

While many companies are working on closing the loop in their supply chains, achieving a virtuous circle of production that recycles a garment by returning it to fibre form and spinning this back into fabric is proving elusive.

According to Re:newcell, there will be a global shortage of cellulosed-based fibres of 5m tons by 2020.