REMO: The GPS for textile recycling
Many clothing companies do not know where to start with textile recycling. Where can they take the clothes that they have collected? Where can they find recycled textiles? And who can process the textiles? REMO (The Recycle Movement) shows them the way using its extensive network of suppliers, fiberizing companies, spinners, weavers and clothing companies. In this role, REMO is also involved in a number of pilot projects for the European LIFE project ECAP: European Clothing Action Plan.
Martin Havik, the founder of REMO, started REMO in 2008. After his career as a professional cyclist, he ended up in the textile industry in Italy. "Via my own textile purchasing office in Prato, I learnt first hand how textile recycling works: from the individual fibres to a pair of jeans." He also learnt the ins and outs of the textile world. "It is made up of many individual islands, each protecting their own product. Besides contributing to a healthier planet, I also hope that REMO helps to create cooperation and transparency. After all, the textile industry is the second largest polluter; one shirt is equivalent to 2,600 litres of water. This situation cannot go on for much longer."
There are only a few companies that can turn recycled textiles into new clothes. REMO knows where to find them and how to bring them into contact with clothing manufacturers, such as ASOS and MUD Jeans. Havik: "We know the routes and function as a kind of GPS. With our network and our knowledge, we complete the recycling chain. That saves companies a lot of money and research."
Making textile recycling more transparent
Unfortunately, sustainable clothing is not high on the list of priorities. Clothing manufacturers do not quite know how to successfully launch sustainable trousers, shirts, jumpers and tops in the market. Marieke Koemans-Kokkelink is Sales Director at REMO and has been considering the problem. "We want to use textile recycling to make sustainable production of clothes more transparent. We also want to make consumers more aware of the recycling of clothing. For that reason, REMO has come up with the REMOkey. It is a label that states what percentage of the end product is recycled and what the environmental benefit is. Via a QR code, customers can see the textile’s journey from start to finish. We hope this will make consumers aware that it is good to hand in old clothes and to purchase recycled textiles. And a clothing company can use the label to show that they are sustainable and transparent."
REMO and ECAP
Havik: "Our ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of waste textile, to waste less water and energy, and to reduce the emission of CO2." To achieve this goal, REMO works with other sustainable companies and governments. For example, in a number of pilot projects within ECAP, they advise companies on textile recycling and on the best route to take. Furthermore, REMO helps them achieve their CSR objectives and to make those objectives more tangible. Examples of pilots in which REMO has been involved include the pilots with ASOS, Blue LOOP Originals/Blycolin, HAVEP and the clothing chain JBC.
In ECAP, Rijkswaterstaat (part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment) works together with the British organization WRAP, the Danish Fashion Institute, the Dutch-English organization MADE-BY and the London Waste and Recycling Board. Together, these parties wish to reduce the amount of clothing that is landfilled or incinerated in Europe by 90,000 tonnes a year by 2019. ECAP also has the ambition to reduce the water consumption and the emission of CO2. One of the work packages of Rijkswaterstaat in ECAP is the pilots for Fiber2Fiber recycling. In these pilots, companies are encouraged to produce new clothes with a considerable percentage of recycled textile. The €3.6 million ECAP project is funded through the EU programme LIFE. The project runs until March 2019.
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