Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Lenzing Turns Tencel Into Denim As Part of New Fiber Recycling Initiative


Leading global producer of wood-based specialty fibers, Lenzing Group, has introduced the initial phase of the “Fiber Recycling Initiative” by Tencel.

The new Tencel-led initiative is geared towards driving circularity in the global textile industry, with a specific focus on denim. The company is partnering with valued mill partners, including Artistic Milliners from Pakistan, Canatiba from Brazil, and Textil Santanderina from Spain. The initiative begins with the production of denim fabrics derived from mechanically recycled Tencel branded lyocell fibers.

Lenzing says the development of the “Fiber Recycling Initiative” is driven by growing demand from consumers who are looking for more sustainable and circular product options. The new initiative redefines the circular future of a sustainable denim industry globally.

Fabric material made of mechanical recycled Tencel Lyocell By Santanderina
Fabric material made of mechanical recycled Tencel Lyocell By Santanderina | Courtesy

“Brands and consumers count on us to lead the change towards a more sustainable industry value chain,” Tuncay Kılıçkan, Head of Global Business Development, Denim, at Lenzing, said in a statement.

“As we constantly seek ways to improve circularity across various components of the textile industry, our like-minded, decades-long value chain partners have innovatively discovered the mechanical recycling of Tencel Lyocell fibers in denim production. While such a concept is still relatively new to the wider industry, the development of the ‘Fiber Recycling Initiative’ by Tencel sets out to promote the benefits and unleash the full potential of the new circular fabric,” Kılıçkan said.

According to Lenzing, mechanically recycled Tencel Lyocell fibers are ideal for denim production. The Product Development Team at Canatiba explains that, unlike cotton, the new fabric retains its characteristics in relation to virgin fibers while maintaining the length, resistance, and all the physical properties, as well as being super soft to the touch. The production process does not involve the consumption of water or chemicals.

Mechanical Recycling Process Tencel Lyocell By Santanderina
Mechanical Recycling Process Tencel Lyocell By Santanderina | Courtesy

Mechanically recycled Tencel Lyocell fibers can scale among large brands and department stores in Brazil, as they add to the sustainability features of the denim fabric.

“The awareness of reducing the environmental impact within our sector is growing, especially with the industry trends of circular economy and sustainable production practices,” said José Antonio Mazorra, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Textil Santanderina. “I expect that innovation and technological improvements around circularity, including phases of collection, selection, and recycling, will result in a greater need for mechanically recycled cellulosic fibers.”

Virgin Tencel Lyocell fibers are well-known for their environmentally responsible, closed-loop production process. This process transforms sustainably sourced wood pulp into cellulosic fibers with high resource efficiency and a low carbon footprint. The mechanically recycled Tencel Lyocell fibers add to the sustainability features of the denim fabric, as they do not require the usage of water or chemicals.

Fabrics produced using mechanically recycled Tencel retain the core features of the fibers, like breathability, smooth drape, gentle on the skin, and long-lasting comfort. They also feature “close-to-cotton” aesthetics.

Jeans made of mechanical recycled Tencel Lyocell By Artistic Milliners
Jeans made of mechanical recycled Tencel Lyocell By Artistic Milliners | Courtesy

Lenzing says the new fabric has so much potential across global markets, especially with the nostalgia around Y2K and other vintage looks. The classic salt and pepper effect really blooms with mechanically recycled Lyocell fibers, along with that neppy denim aesthetics.

The fibers are identifiable in end products, too, ensuring traceability and transparency of production processes. With the ability to be traced back to their sources, the use of mechanically recycled Tencel Lyocell fibers can be documented and verified, ensuring greater accountability and transparency in the supply chain.

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