TENCEL™ x REFIBRA™: Lenzing’s circular approach to recycled fibre

Another cool innovation from Lenzing? Yes, it is! The TENCEL™ x 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 innovation entail? And what do we love about it?


The TENCEL™ x REFIBRA™ technology combines both wood pulp and pulp from pre- and post-consumer cotton scraps to make new fibres. The process works quite similarly to TENCEL™ Lyocell fibres, where Lenzing solely turns wood pulp from controlled and certified forests into a soft, low-impact fibre. However, here a circular approach is taken. Cotton waste, otherwise going into landfill, is used as well! The cellulose form wood is replaced by the cellulose in the cotton waste. For the TENCEL™ x REFIBRA™ fibres, 30% cotton pulp is combined with 70% of wood pulp. Lenzing pushes to increase the amount of recycled cotton to at least 50% in 2024.


How is the fabric with REFIBRA™ fibre made?

First, both input materials, cotton scraps and wood, are turned into pulp. The wood is extracted from certified and controlled forests and turned into wood chips. The wood chips and cotton waste are dissolved with an organic solvent. This solvent turns the chips and the cotton into a paste. This paste is pushed through tiny holes to create threads or fibres. These are then spun into yarn and later woven into soft, low-impact fabric.

Why do we use fabric with TENCEL™ x REFIBRA™?

TENCEL™ x 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 are derived from forests certified by accredited forest management standards. 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 is a method that reduces the garment's impact because fewer virgin raw materials are used. We love that! But on top of that, TENCEL™ x REFIBRA™ gives discarded cotton scraps a new life through Lenzing's closed-loop production process. A closed-loop production process means that the process water and the solvent used are recycled up to 99% to ensure the impact is as low as possible. The closed-loop system allows the reuse of the solvent instead of needing to renew and dispose constantly. Better for our planet!

TENCEL™ x REFIBRA™ feels incredibly smooth and luxurious to the touch. The fibre is also available with an RCS certification. This standard proves 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!

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

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