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Children’s clothing high on the agenda of textile waste project

Children’s clothing manufacturer Reima has offered an update on the progress of Trash-2-Cash, a European Union project that aims to create value from textile waste.

Launched in 2016, it involves a wide range of designers, scientists and industry names who are working together to create high-end material from waste textiles. Reima was among the 18 founding partners of the project. It is the only clothing brand currently involved. 

Trash-2-Cash’s work specifically on children’s clothing has already led to a number of innovations, Reima has revealed.

One of these is the creation of a recyclable PUR resin coating which when added to a recyclable polyester fabric could offer an alternative to non-recyclable PVC-coated fabrics in rainwear. The resin was developed by project partner Cidetex using recycled polyester pellets. When combined with the textile it is said to form a flexible composite. The resin can be extracted from the fabric, allowing the two material to be recycled separately. 

Another innovation has been devised as an alternative to cotton. The cellulose-based material, known as ioncell, was developed by scientists at the University of Helsinki. 

“A water-repellent substance can be added to the ioncell fibre to achieve technical qualities that a polyester fleece now has, such as wicking moisture and drying quickly,” said Dr Elina Ilén, a researcher at Aalto University. “And if the sewing yarn, trims and labels are cellulose-based, the entire garment is 100% recyclable in this process.”

Matilda Laitila, an R&D project manager at Reima, has said: “Through projects like Trash-2-Cash, Reima intends to continue being the world’s leading expert in outdoor clothing for children. It’s also important for T2C to have industry partners who are at the ‘coal face’ of performance wear, to make sure the fibres we develop will actually be commercially viable in that sector.”

Image shows the Trash-2-Cash project's exhibit at Dutch Fashion Week in October.

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