The textile industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. Henrik Norlin, board member of re:newcell, explains that this was the reason why they began investigating alternative recycling options for textiles. Today, re:newcells is building the first factory in the world, in Kristinehamn, which recycles textiles into new fibres which in turn can be used to produce quality clothing.
WHAT IS RE:NEWCELL?
– The basis of the company is an invention created at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in 2011, which was about turning cotton into textile pulp. The pulp is later used as raw material for the textile materials lyocell and viscose. Normally, lyocell and viscose are made from wood. We produce the pulp using old clothes instead of wood, which is a groundbreaking method! What’s unique with re:newcell is that we do not only recycle textiles but we also manage to create something with even better quality than the original garment.
At the moment, we are building a demonstration plant in Kristinehamn where we’ll be able to produce 7,000 tons of pulp. One ton of pulp equals the production of 2 million pairs of jeans and each pair of jeans consumes 10,000 litres of water in the original production. Our recycling method will therefore have a great impact. The textile industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, so even though we are making a small effort it will have big absolute advantages and consequences.
WHAT WERE THE REASONS BEHIND RE:NEWCELLS DECISION TO START UP IN KRISTINEHAMN AND VÄRMLAND?
– Because there is great expertise when it comes to process technique. A large part of our process is related to the pulp industry and we wanted to have close access to skilled labour and suppliers. We want the demonstration plant to be an innovative environment where people work as a team to close the circle around the textile industry, and to do so we need to be where the expertise is.
WHAT WERE THE SUCESS FACTors when you established re:newcell in Kristinehamn and värmland?
– Skilled people! We have also received very useful support and assistance from both local networks and Näringslivssamverkan in Kristinehamn to find the right people and coordinate our work with the Municipality. The geographical position also plays a part – logistics is important.
what would you say is important to encourage more business in värmland ?
– I think it’s important to focus on those who are in need of the expertise in Värmland. We found the right networks and competence! Värmland has unique expertise when it comes to paper and pulp, therefore it is a good idea to keep developing these areas.
what does the growth potential look like?
– The potential is immense. We won’t reach our full potential for a while yet, but if things work out the way we want them to, this will have great impact on the textile industry, both environmentally and structurally. The potential in Kristinehamn is immense: we want to be a world-leading hub for innovative textile recycling. Our ambition is for Kristinehamn to be the place where people from all over the world come to test our textile recycling process!