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Panelists from left to right: Scott Echols (ZDHC Foundation), Michele Zollinger, Tricia Carey (Director of Global Business Development – Apparel, Lenzing Fibers), and moderator Karla Magruder, funder of Fabrikology Internation.

The circular economy has made the news. The term refers to designing out waste and creating a closed-loop system that reuses and recycles inputs. At the 2019 summer edition of Texworld, the circular economy was up for discussion. Is it another step in the long journey to sustainability? Will it be the system that solves our environmental issues? A group of experts weighed in on circularity, the efforts to reduce GHG emissions and greener ways to process textiles. Here are some key takeaways from the panel:

Resale is a huge opportunity

“It is important we continue to look at how garments can stay in use,” said Tricia Carey, Director of Global Business Development – Apparel, Lenzing Fibers. “And re-sale. There are so many great platforms being created to re-sell garments. Social media is shifting perception.”

Don’t skimp on the strength and aesthetics of recycled materials

“Designing into circularity is what we need to work on in this community,” said Tricia Carey, Director of Global Business Development – Apparel, Lenzing Fibers. “We’ve (LENZING) been working on the Refibre – using recycled cotton in wood pulp in order to have a new fiber. And how we do that is we take post-industrial cotton scrap and make that into pulp. We take the wood and make that into pulp and then we blend the two pulps. I think as product designers we need to be asking when you are recycling, how does that impact the strength, the aesthetics of what you’re working with.”

Leverage existing environmental standards

Please don’t go out and try to create your own restricted substances list or waste water standard,” said Scott Echols, Program Director, ZDHC Foundation. “Please use what’s out there.”

Make sure circularity also addresses climate impact

“Let’s make sure that those solutions that are circular also reduce climate impact,” said Michele Zollinger, Senior Sustainability Consultant, Quantis. “One way of doing that is ensuring and measuring to make sure the right focuses are put in areas where a lot of that impact is located, and collaborate.

Next up: Read the TNFI Circular Fashion Action Plan here.

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