ReBlend

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ReBlend: Textiles from what you waste

Amsterdam, NetherlandsAlicante, Spain
Year Founded:
2013
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Imagine a world in which a substantial part of all new textiles is made from existing clothing. Garments unsuitable for reuse are broken down through an environmentally friendly process. This results in less need for virgin raw materials and yarn with a much better ecological footprint.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we could use current blended textile waste as the main source for sustainable new fibres, yarn and textiles?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

We all wear clothes. Textiles are part of our identity. However the way we make our clothes and textiles is very environmentally polluting. Next to CO2 emissions and use of chemicals, a huge mount of water is used to grow the fibers and dye the fabrics. This water is used in already water scarce areas. It is striking to see that after a small period of use these textiles leave the textile chain for low value applications and even incineration.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

More and more textiles are being collected. Still only a small fraction is used for upcycling. If we produce new yarn by recycling old ones and use no water and add no additional chemicals it creates a yarn with a minimal ecological impact. Making yarn from ´residual textiles´ with an environmentally friendly process saves water needed to grow cotton fibers. Sorting on color and using the available colors saves water and chemicals for dying the textiles. Undying and dying with innovative CO2 technology will be our next step. Creating governance structures for sorting the textiles, certified combinations of recycled textiles and possibilities for labeling the materials creates governance structures needed for effective market entrance.

Awards

Tedx Amsterdam Women Startup Award (Semi final)
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

We work together with Amsterdam based fashion Designer Melanie Brown and Royal dutch Ahrend to create yarn from textiles that currently end up in low value application or incineration. We initiated a cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences Monchengladbach to spin recycled blended textile vessels. Students of a master class Circular textiles spun 20 kilo 100% recycled yarn made with no water or additional chemicals. Part of the yarn is used to make two prototypes, a knitted jumper and a dress. The prototypes are launched at Amsterdam Fashion Week as part of the catwalk show of BYBROWN. The yarn was also used to create two prototypes of upholstery for the Ahrend 2020 office chair.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We are testing for on our first batch of 5000 kilo 100% recycled cotton-blend yarn. 70% of post consumer textiles and 30% recycled PET. Planned date of delivery end of 2015. The yarn is made to order for ReBlend as a first project of Spanish Ferre/Recover to use post consumer textiles for new yarn. This will be the starting point for development of a collection high end fashion in close cooperation with BYBROWN and pilot projects of interior design with Ahrend. Spring 2016, as part of Dutch hotspot project Circular Valley we will organize a fashion show to create momentum for dialogue with industry on using a substantial amount of recycled materials. In 2016, we will start R&D for positioning recycled materials by building a kind of certification for recycled textiles and creation of transparency in labeling regulations to assure global positioning of recycled materials.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Our current samples show blended textile waste can be used as source for new textiles. It takes fine tuning of machinery, organizing the governance structures and creating a new image for recycled materials. If produced in the same quantities clothes are produced nowadays the price will be comparable. And of course the true price is much better. In 5 to 10 years we aim to create a movement towards using blended textile waste a source for a substantial part of new textiles. At that time we are no longer necessary to support the use blended textile waste.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

For the next year we are partly funded by Doen foundation. The other part comes our launching partners and product sales to other customers. Our business model is to develop innovative showcases and pilot project in close-cooperation with designers or commissioned by labels or textile producers.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Most mechanical recycling initiatives aim to recycle pure materials. Our approach is actionable and pragmatic; despite the focus on using mono-materials the main part of textiles is still a blend. We aim to develop new high quality, aesthetic and comfortable yarns using only recycled materials; using post-consumer textile waste (>70%) in combination with recycled materials like PET, nylon as a start. By focus on creating standard blends the composition will be in control. Other recycling initiatives focus on chemical recycling. We differ to these by using no water and no chemicals.
Team

Founding Story

Searching for sustainable clothes myself I concluded it is is not so easy. The sustainable materials available are made up nearly entirely of virgin material. Recyclable in future, but will they be recycled? If a material contains recycled materials it is usually limited to 20- 30%. And only available in casual wear. As an outsider in textiles I started asking questions about the mismatch between the blends we wear and the recycling principle to only use pure materials. What to do with the huge amount of blended textile materials that is collected nowadays? Expressing my thoughts to ´insiders´ created recognition and the thought that working together would enable us to start an experiment.

Team

We are a cross disciplinary network organization. Together we have over 100 years of experience on the edge of inspiring & initiating new thinking, creating innovation, managing change and fashion & interior design. We have a small management base and produce products and service in close cooperation with our partners. Core of the team is formed by Anita de Wit and Joanneke Lootsma - Executive board ReBlend). Max van der Sleen (former CEO Ecorys), Liesbeth Gort (Director FSC )en Nancy Bocken (Chambridge & TU Delft) - Supervisory board and both founding partners Diana Seijs (Sustainability Ahrend) and Melanie Brown (owner/designer BYBROWN). Anita de Wit, co-founder & fulltime executive director of ReBlend. Master´s in Business Economics, VU Amsterdam. Post-academic certification in Change Management, SIOO Utrecht. Anita strongly believes in making change by connecting social issues to business. She has a long history of working with both private and public organizations in various industries to create better business. Her project experience made her realize that most organizations want to be more sustainable but it still is quite complicated to realize both economic profit and social & ecological impact. It is not only about minimizing negative impacts it also needs to be a shift in how we frame problems and look for new solutions. Her strengths are to connect people and discourses to work together in making concrete results in a moving world. Joanneke Lootsma, part-time, Strategic Communication. She is an experienced strategic project who creates meaningful organisations and projects by envisioning ideas, communication strategies for present day social issues. As the project grows we intend to enlarge our partner network with designers, labels, producers and communication & social media expertise. See the following for our current project/partnerships . Royal Ahrend and BYBROWN are launching customers. They design the actual product. And in close cooperation we initiate iconic launching projects. The residual textiles are collected and sorted by Sympany. Fiberizing and spinning of the yarn by Spanish Ferre/Recover. Other included partners; Textiel lab Amsterdam, Knitwear Lab Almere (both knitwear), Van den Acker and startup City of Textiles Enschede NL (both weaving), Dyecoo (undying and dying with CO2), dutch innovation centre Texperium and Circle Economy NL.
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]

Raw Materials, Manufacturing.

Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]

Advocate/Organizer.

Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]

Brands, Consumers, Corporations, Designers, Policymakers, Researchers, Women.

● Intervention Focus: What are you trying to achieve / influence? [check all that apply]

Conscious Consumerism, Environmentally Sustainable Practices, Recycling or Circular Economy, Transparency.

Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.

Advocacy, Certification, Organizing.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

Sustainability is Not Yet in the DNA: Fast Fashion’s Current Model Disincentivizes Value-Driven Economies.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Disrupt Business as Usual: Target Key Players Who Can Influence the Bottom Line.

Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?

yes

If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?

● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?
Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?

We create showcases showing the aesthetice perspective and we are working on a documentary with a filmmaker to create dialogue.

● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?

We connect frontrunning