Circular textile: creating scale together

From education to government and healthcare institutions and from innovative start-ups to well-known clothing brands: in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area more than 50 organizations are working together on the Green Deal Circular Textiles. And that already yields a lot of beauty, as shown during the second Community Meetup Circular Textile.

The goals of the Green Deal Circular Textile are ambitious: by 2025, producers of new textiles will use at least 30 percent recycled material and by 2030 no more textiles will end up in the incinerator. Today’s attendees, the Green Deal signatories, are already working hard on these goals in many ways. One focuses on reuse, another on redesign, recycling or a combination of all this, says Claire Teurlings (lead Circular Economy) at the start of the digital meetup.

“In our opinion, working on circular textiles is one of the ways to get out of the crisis sustainably.”

The themes on which the Green Deal Circular Textile currently focuses on: protective clothing for healthcare, Circular Fashion Innovation Lab, the Denim Deal, behavioral change campaigns, hotel linen, knowledge & education, optimization of collection and sorting, a Repair Shared Service Center and work clothing. While some parties are still in the exploratory phase, others are already producing sustainable textiles. Teurlings: “We all operate on the boundaries of our own organization. That’s why we have to do this together. As frontrunners, we have to engage other parties in order to achieve scale.”

A circular isolation coat

This scale is necessary, for example, to further develop reusable protective clothing for healthcare. We also see this in the pilot in which fifteen parties work together on a reusable isolation coat, of which the first prototypes are now being made for extensive testing.


OLVG purchaser Niels van den Nieuwboer explains why the relatively high costs of the reusable isolation coat are still a barrier. “There is a limit to our financial possibilities. If a disposable coat is twice as cheap as a reusable coat, it means that we have more people at the bed when we use the disposable coat. For us as a hospital, sustainability is not the primary focus. That is why we hope that the costs for a sustainable coat will not only end up with us. ”

The unique thing about this collaboration is that parties from the entire chain participate: customers, producers, but also the government, says Monique Chadron, innovation manager at CleanLease. “The starting values are price, people, planet and profit. And although the price is often still leading, we try to divide the pie wedges evenly. Perhaps the coat has become more of a means than an end, a means to investigate how we can finance these kinds of projects. ”

In the chat someone asks what the difference is with the reusable isolation coats that are already used in many hospitals. Van den Nieuwboer explains that those coats are only partly circular. “For example, they have a carbon finish and we don’t know what will happen to those coats when they are discarded. With our coat, we also explicitly look at what we can do with it if the coat needs to be replaced. ” And that of course fits very well with the ultimate ambition of the Green Deal: 100 percent circular textile.

Interested in isolation coats?

Are you interested in joining this? Or are you as a healthcare organization looking for circular isolation coats? Please contact Claire Teurlings .

Raw materials director for the region

Marten Boels is a raw materials director for the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (MRA), a “typically new profession”, he says. Boels is the linking pin for the waste flows in the 32 MRA municipalities and 2 provinces. “For textiles, I am involved with agreements about high-quality collection, guaranteeing transparency about the processing of discarded textiles, good conditions for the lobby, and producer responsibility.” “As governments, we mainly look at where we have influence. For example, we have the rather ambitious plan to collect 7 kilos of textile per inhabitant per year by 2025, while that is now still 3.5 kilos (because the rest disappears in the residual waste). That would mean that we would then have much more secondary material. We are also working on a guide on how governments can commit to circular industrial clothing and a collaboration for sorting and processing household textiles. ” Teurlings thinks it is great that the authorities are using their procurement budgets to support these circular activities in particular, and inquires about the regional fund that can also contribute to financing circular activities in another way.

The establishment of the Regional Development Company MRA and Noord-Holland Noord should contribute to these goals. Boels: “With this we hope to be able to make more efficient use of national and European schemes and funds to support companies at an early stage.”

Towards circular yarn with ByBorre and BrightLoops

BrightLoops and ByBorre are working on yarns made from discarded and non-re-wearable textiles from the region.


“This is one of the ways to use material more responsibly,” says Borre Akkersdijk about the innovative yarns that are made from post-consumer recycled material from regionally discarded textiles. “How can we best reduce waste into products you need? The customers who come to us ask us to help them do it better, to have less negative impact. We show them where the yarns we use come from and help them ensure that it is included in the storytelling to the end user. Above all, I want to be transparent and encourage everyone to be transparent, including about things that are not yet going well. The more open we are, the more we see how we can support each other. ”

For the innovative yarns ByBorre works together with Brightfiber Textiles, set up by Ellen Mensink. “The materials we process are so-called ‘post consumer textiles, also known as PCR’. Most recycled yarns that are already on the market are composed mainly of industrial textile waste, which is released during production. But that does not solve the enormous amount of waste after textile has been used. Our project is aimed at tackling precisely that problem regionally and the challenge is to make yarns that meet the requirements of the larger brands, for example that they can pass through the machines at high speed.

State of Art is a customer of the yarns with a high PCR. The first circular collection of State of Art is now in the shops, says Gijs Konings. “Consumers and retailers are responding well to this, so I am happy to be able to participate. The challenge is still to get the retailer to properly convey the sustainability story to the consumer. ” Jeroen Dijkema of Exota is also happy with the initiative, they aim for a lower% PCR with which finer yarns and thus more suitable items for the collection of King Louie can be made. “We have been looking for new perspectives for working with post-consumer material for a long time. Not only because we want to become more sustainable, also because that is a business-wise opportunity. Consumers are asking more and more questions about it. ”

Borre Akkersdijk and Ellen Mensink call on interested parties to report to them. Akkersdijk: “We are cleaning up the mess for the generations before us and I invite all brands that want to make textiles to us to see how they can do that best.” Mensink: “We mainly want to stimulate the demand side, so we mainly need big brands that want to actively participate.”

Interested in innovative yarns?

Are you or do you know a party who is interested in innovative yarns? Sign up with Claire Teurlings.

Knowledge and education about circular textile

In education, a lot is already happening in the field of circular textile, at all levels of education and in a variety of study programs. Suzanne van Rooij, lead partnerships at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI and part of AUAS), talks about how she works with educational institutions to bundle this knowledge. “We are making an inventory of what knowledge is already available and where there is a gap. The Green Deal gives us the opportunity to connect better with the industry, so we also know better what needs there are and we respond better to them with the different levels of training in collaboration. It is also about developing the missing knowledge together. ”

Roger Gerards, director of Master Coupeur Training is also involved in the initiative. “Makers, doers and thinkers come together, which is very unique,” he says. “The advantage of education is that we think outside of brands and profit margins. The goal that consumers will also become more aware of sustainability has been strongly discussed until now, otherwise it will remain within the walls of education. What do we need to do and know for this? He also emphasizes the unique opportunity to impart these new principles to x,000 students annually, which is where behavioral change occurs. ”

Want to spread knowledge?

Who has ideas, great cases and / or participates in putting practice into education? Both large and small innovative companies are welcome. Connect with Claire Teurlings .

Continue to build circular textiles in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area

The better connection with the industry thanks to the Green Deal is immediately apparent. Ellen Mensink from Brightloops would like to talk further with Suzanne van Rooij, because she wants more students to participate in the pathways they do and Danny Schüttler from The Swap Society would like to get in touch with students for a number of practical teaching assignments. Contact information is also exchanged between the 50 attendees in the chat.

And exactly that is an important objective of the Green Deal Circular Textiles: to strengthen the network of knowledge institutions, governments and the business community in order to advance this important theme. The transition to circular products requires not only technological innovation, but also completely new organization of chains.

Do you or does your organization also want to actively contribute to (one of) the initiatives discussed? Please contact Claire Teurlings and then we put you in touch with the right people.

23 April 2021

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