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Inditex has big plans for textiles recycling in Spain and beyond

Spain – Spanish multinational clothing company Inditex is teaming up with Austrian textile manufacturer Lenzing to commit to the circular economy model in all phases of its production. The collaboration is meant to kick-start a clothing collection campaign as well as a reuse and recycling programme for discarded garments, says Inditex’€™s chairman and chief executive Pablo Isla.

Inditex says it will be focussing on creating premium textile raw materials from its fabric scraps, initially involving about 500 tons of textile waste. ‘The aim is to raise this to around 3 000 tons within a few years,’ Isla comments. Zara, Inditex’s flagship store, produces an estimated 450 million items of clothing annually.

Meanwhile, the recycling initiative is said to provide Lenzing with enough fabric to produce about 48 million garments. Zara will pilot a free clothing collection scheme for online deliveries in Madrid this September. As a first step, the company plans to install up to clothing collection bins Zara stores and hotspots throughout the city with help of local charity Cáritas.

Isla ultimately hopes to roll out this project on a national scale, he hinted when announcing the company’s 2016-2020 Environmental Strategy Plan. This will ultimately see Inditex install up to 2000 collection bins across Spain.

Similar collection schemes encompassing textiles, shoes as well as accessories have already been set up at 37 Zara stores in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden as a part of the ‘Closing the Loop’ project, which was launched in 2015. A total of 5.7 tonnes of materials were collected last year.

Inditex has announced that it will also donate EUR 3.5 million (US$3.9 million) over two years to modernize Cáritas’ existing garment sorting and treatment plants. At the same time, the fashion powerhouse is also leading research efforts into technology for the creation of new textile fibres from recycled garments in partnership with Massachusetts University of Technology (MIT) in the US and select Spanish universities.

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