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I:Co partners brands to recycle clothing in 48 nations
Mar '13
Paul Doertenbach from I:Co presented the ambitious plans for closed-loop clothing recycling with their partners Puma, H&M and Jack & Jones in 48 countries at the recent Textile Waste workshop in Tallinn. In their German facility they are currently sorting 400 tons daily on 400 criteria.

The Puma “Incycle” collection is one of their main projects, which includes apparel, footwear and accessories with a “bring me back” message for biodegradable or recyclable items. The plan is that all POSs (points of sales) will become POC (points of collection) and that the infrastructure that brings goods out to the stores can bring back the returns. However, this has not been stream-lined. The H&M take-back initiative is currently on a “soft roll-out”: Germany has 80 stores accepting returns, France has 21, while Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy and the US have rolled out the system.

I:Co is also working with some of their partners on setting up respinning of cotton fibers. As the take-back schemes increase in volume they will be setting up more sorting facilities. When asked if the awarding of vouchers was not driving consumption and up-holding the current system, Paul explained that they did work within the current business-model, but in San Francisco they were looking at the vouchers being part of a city-wide I:Co city scheme so the vouchers could go towards for example museum admissions.

They have also set up operations in Africa, since a certain amount of the returns are sent here. In Kenya they are cooperating with spinners producing blankets from discarded textiles and clothing. This in an attempt to completely close the loop: “Only 5 % of our returns are incinerated,” he stressed.

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