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Fashion for Good launches pilot to produce a circular polybag

Dec 17, 2019
Fashion for Good launches pilot to produce a circular polybag

Fashion for Good launched a new pilot project; the circular polybag pilot, which will explore a solution that aims to reduce the use and impact of virgin polybags in the fashion industry. Orchestrated by Fashion for Good in partnership with adidas, C&A, Kering, Otto Group and PVH Corp., with Cadel Deinking, an innovator from the Fashion for Good Accelerator Programme, the pilot is a first in the apparel industry to trial a truly circular solution for polybags. Using post-consumer polybag waste, Cadel Deinking’s innovation facilitates the creation of high quality, recycled content polybags; a solution that brings us closer to creating a truly closed loop system.

Driving a circular solution
The Circular Polybag Pilot was announced by Managing Director, Katrin Ley, at Fashion for Good’s biannual Innovation event. The Circular Polybag Pilot is the first pilot in a programme of activities initiated by Fashion for Good focusing on scalable solutions to address the issue of plastics in the fashion industry. The pilot, slated to begin in early 2020, explores the opportunities and feasibility of moving towards a circular solution that can reduce the use and impact of the polybag, and potentially, decrease our dependency on fossil fuels feedstocks. Partnering with key industry players adidas, C&A, Kering, Otto Group and PVH Corp, to support the pilot, ensures the volume of polybag waste collected and the subsequent recycled polybags purchased is enough to run an industrial trial at scale.

“We are pleased to be part of the Circular Polybag Pilot and to seek sustainable solutions together with other companies and strong partners in the apparel industry. We can only make a real difference and make a big contribution to sustainability with a closed-loop model that saves resources,” emphasises Stefan Krantz, Head of Group Services at the Otto Group.

The polybag is ubiquitous in the fashion industry; approximately 180 billion of them are produced every year to store, transport and protect garments, footwear and accessories. Existing recycled polybags mostly use pre-consumer off-cuts and shrink wrap waste, usually from the polybag production line, and are generally not contaminated with inks or adhesives. Crucially, this is not a fully circular solution as it depends on the sourcing of this high-quality waste – and current technology means other sources of abundant feedstock are hard to utilise. Less than 15 per cent of all polybags in circulation are collected for recycling.

The current pilot focuses on manufacturing a suitably clear recycled polybag using a high percentage of post-consumer polybag waste which includes ink and adhesive contaminants. The pilot aims to validate and further commercialise this new supply of waste for recycled content polybag production, returning the recycled bags back into circulation within the supply chain.