US circular fashion specialist ReCircled buys returns expert Circlarity
ReCircled, a US specialist in recycling and repairing used clothes, has announced the acquisition of Circlarity, an American company that designs solutions used by apparel brands to deploy and control product return programmes.
Prompted by studies on fashion’s environmental impact, ReCircled has specialised in facilitating the transition of apparel and footwear brands to a sustainable, circular business model. In order to do so, brands need pre-owned products to be “certified.” ReCircled collects used products that consumers return to brands, enabling the products to be recycled or re-introduced on the market, either through commercial partners or the brands themselves.
“We know and understand that consumer return (referred to as ‘Take Back’) technology that makes it easy and convenient for the retail consumer to return items to the brands, either directly or through retail partners, is the first step in achieving full brand circularity,” said Scott Kuhlman, CEO of ReCircled.
“Take Back programs have to be adopted not only by brands and retailers, but also, and most importantly, by consumers. Consumers need to have the moral incentive to make the effort to return merchandise when they are finished using it,” he added.
By acquiring Circlarity, ReCircled is broadening the range of its services to apparel brands, since Circlarity has developed several tools to implement, manage and monitor the product return process. These tools are expected to boost the flow of products towards ReCircled, which for the time being operates two processing sites, one in Cozad, Nebraska, and the other in Prato, Italy. The Denver-based company is keen to extend its organisation, notably by “reclaiming” decommissioned textile factories and putting them to new use in recycling apparel, textiles and footwear.
Circlarity’s acquisition by ReCircled is the latest instance in the slew of new initiatives taking place in this domain within the textile industry worldwide. In November, Euratex, the European Apparel and Textile Confederation, announced a plan for setting up hubs for the handling of textile waste, designed to expand European capacity for fibre recycling and for the resale of second-hand items in good condition.
The European Commission itself recently opened a consultation on the European textile industry’s transition to circularity. In France, public investment bank BPI France has recently triggered the creation of an accelerator for start-ups developing solutions for waste reclamation.
In Europe alone, some 4 million tonnes of textile waste were incinerated in 2019, while 2.8 million tonnes were collected and destined to recycling. Euratex is hoping to increase the latter figure to 5.5 million tonnes by 2025. In the USA, according to the country’s Environmental Protection Agency, 3.2 million tonnes of textiles were incinerated in 2018, and another 11.3 million tons went to landfills, equivalent to 7.7% of all landfill waste for that year.
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