REFIBRA™: Lenzing’s circular approach to recycled fabric

Another cool innovation from Lenzing? Yes, it is! The REFIBRA™ technology was added to Lenzing’s portfolio of innovations for a more circular approach to fibre production in 2017! Pushing their circular agenda. But, what makes it more circular? What does the technology entail? And what do we love about it?

What is REFIBRA™?

The REFIBRA™ technology combines both wood pulp and pulp from pre- and post-consumer cotton scraps. The process works quite similar to TENCEL™ Lyocell, where Lenzing solely turns wood pulp from sustainably managed forests into a soft, low-impact fibre. However, here a circular approach is taken. As cotton scraps, otherwise going into landfill, are used as well! For the REFIBRA™ fibres, 30% cotton pulp is combined with 70% of wood pulp.

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https://a.storyblok.com/f/165464/1365x2048/127bba045f/lenzing.jpg

How is the REFIBRA™ fabric made?

First, both input materials, cotton scraps and wood, are turned into pulp. The wood is extracted from sustainably managed forests and turned into wood chips. The wood chips and cotton pulp are dissolved with an organic solvent. This solvent turns the chips and the cotton pulp into a paste. In the next step, the mixture is pushed through tiny holes to create threads called filament fibres. These are then spun into yarn and later woven into soft, low-impact REFIBRA™ fabric or blended with other materials.

Why do we use REFIBRA™ fabric?

REFIBRA™ is a low-impact fibre with a low water footprint. Trees use a lot less water compared to cotton plants. A lower impact means purer goods! We’re guaranteed that the wood used for Tencel fibres comes from sustainably managed forests. It is certified by FSC or PEFC, accredited standards for managing forests. These standards prove that the forest has been managed to preserve biodiversity and that no illegal logging is involved!

 

Of course, the use of left-over cotton scraps in the REFIBRA™ technology is a method that reduces the garment impact because fewer virgin raw materials are used. We love that! But there’s much more to REFIBRA™. REFIBRA™ gives discarded cotton scraps a new life on top of the Lenzing closed-loop production process. A closed-loop production process means all substances used are closely monitored to ensure the impact is as low as possible. It also means that over 99% of the inputs are captured and recycled. The closed-loop system allows the reuse of chemicals instead of needing to renew and dispose of them constantly. Better for our planet!

 

REFIBRA™ feels incredibly soft and luxurious to the touch. The fibre is also available with an RCS certification. These are standards that prove that the recycled content is really recycled. The end goal for Lenzing is to use post-consumer textile waste streams for their Refibra fibres to become even more circular!

"REFIBRA™ gives a face to the future of chemical textile recycling"

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