New issue out now!
43recyclinginternational.com | November/December | 2019
is very wasteful and costly to manage.
As such, offcuts rarely reach the recy-
cling plant. ‘We can no longer sweep
bad disposal practices it under the
rug,’ says Cenga, who runs the start-
up’s R&D department.
Moreover, existing solutions tend to
convert textile scrap into low-grade
products such as insulation and car-
peting. ‘We are the first South African
company recycling 100% textile waste
into a quality fabric good enough to
make clothes,’ Cenga adds.
At the same time, landfill fees in
developing countries are increasing,
meaning producers have to find differ-
ent ways to dispose of their material.
That’s where Cenga and her partners,
Lonwabo Mgoduso and Tshepo
Bhengu, come in.
They recycle production waste into a
jersey fabric suitable for T-shirts,
sweaters, hoodies and leggings. The
textiles are described as a fibre blend
of 60% recycled cotton and 40% recy-
How does tHe Rewoven co
• 100% cotton off-cuts are collected
• Fabric is sorted according to colour
• Off-cut fabric is processed into cot-
• Cotton fibre is blended with fibre
from recycled plastics
• Polycotton fibre is spun into yarn
• Yarn is woven and knitted into fab-
Currently, these fabrics are available in
black, charcoal, grey and white. As
fashion trends change frequently, the
trio is anticipating recycling more
materials besides cotton.
The ReWoven pilot kicked off in
November 2018 and this involved col-
lecting production waste from five
clothing manufacturers located in
Cape Town. The venture gained
momentum after it made the top 10
of the H&M Foundation Global
Change Award – out of 6 000 appli-
cants from 182 different countries.
The young entrepreneurs stress the
fabric has the same quality as virgin
textiles. ‘The only difference is that
our recycled fabric actually helps clean
up the environment instead of pollut-
ing it,’ they state proudly.
Ultimately, they strive to make a sus-
tainable lifestyle accessible for people
no matter where they live. Cenga
says: ‘In the long run, we want our
fabric to be accessible to everyone,
and not just serve a niche, high-end
cellulose in tHe mix
‘Only a negligible proportion of the
global production of clothing and tex-
tiles is recycled today,’ affirms Lars
Idermark, ceo of Swedish forestry
cooperative Södra. ‘Even in develop-
ing countries, virtually all this waste is
sent to landfill or incineration.’ Given
that forests cover half of Sweden,
Södra turned to nature for a solution.
‘Over several years, we have devel-
oped and invested in a large-scale
industrial process where we mix cellu-
lose from wood with a substantial part-
waste textile,’ Idermark explains. ‘The
result is a completely new raw material,
ready to re-enter the textile industry.’
Blended materials are no longer an
obstacle, the ceo emphasises,
because Södra’s new technique sepa-
rates the cotton and polyester ele-
ments within polycotton blends, which
are among the most widely used tex-
tiles on the market. Pure cotton fibres
are then added to the co-operative’s
wood-derived textile pulp and this can
be used to make new textiles.
eAgeR to scAle up
This autumn, Södra’s pulp mill at
Mörrum produced the pulp by adding
The ReWoven founders Esethu Cenga, Lonwabo Mgoduso and Tshepo Bhengu.
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