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Finland textile producers solve textile waste problems

Jul 16, 2021
Finland textile producers solve textile waste problems

Finland is a pioneer in the circular economy, where all materials are reused and recycled, and a community of entrepreneurs are trying to solve some of the greatest challenges facing the textiles and fashion industries.

Petri Alava, CEO, Infinited Fiber, is solving the problems of textile waste and production based on non-renewable resources using a unique technology that cleans and breaks down textile waste at a molecular level, and then use the remaining cellulose and regenerates it into new textile fibres that look and feel soft and natural like cotton.

According to the Ellen MacCarthur Foundation, the textiles industry, 60% of which is clothing, relies heavily on non-renewable resources including oil to produce synthetic fibres, fertilizers to grow cotton, and chemicals to produce, dye, and finish fibres. It has been estimated that the fast fashion system of take-make-waste as has led to the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles going to the landfill or burned every second.

Cross-industry collaboration and cooperation are defining features in the Finnish sustainable textiles and fashion industries.

Kristoffer Ekman, CEO of NordShield, is addressing the harmful leaching of chemicals and heavy metals and bacterial resistance that derive from common antimicrobial treatments for textiles. NordShield’s solution is a unique wood-based, biodegradable technology derived from forestry side streams.

According to Marika Ollaranta, Head of Bio & Circular Finland Program, Business Finland, Finland is a small country and everybody has to work together when it comes to circularity in textiles and fashion as actors across the value chain need to understand each other and work together to ‘complete the circle.’ She added that it is about collecting the waste, identification of materials, material treatment and also finding and innovating the reuse purposes for treated textile waste.

Another driver of change is consumer awareness. Looking to the future, the community of innovators in Finland is optimistic.

UNDP has also been working closely with countries to develop sustainable consumption and production strategies and private sector engagement plans.

Source: UNDP

Image Source: Google Images

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