Frequently Asked Questions
Material & Product Recyclability
How many times can Recover™ fibers re-enter the recycling process?
Recover™ fibers can be recycled for several cycles. Fibers will degrade over time, and therefore, we do advise to blend Recover™ recycled fibers with carrier fibers to maintain optimal quality and performance of the final fabric or product.
Does printing impact the recyclability of materials & products? Are certain printing techniques better or worse (e.g. foil printing, rubberized printing)?
It is advised to avoid rubber and foil-based prints as these materials are not recyclable in our process and have to be removed from the garment before recycling. For the moment, removing prints is a manual and costly process. Therefore, avoiding such prints is advised. When applying prints, use standard dyestuffs as much as possible. These prints are recyclable.
Does the presence of trims (e.g. Buttons, zippers) affect the recyclability of products?
No it doesn’t. The latest Recover™ recycling technology can automatically remove these contaminating elements.
Can Recover™ recycle blends?
Recover™ can recycle Cotton/Polyester blends. However, there will be considerations to contemplate. These considerations need to be reviewed in order to reduce any limitation in the applicability of the recycled fibers into yarns and finished fabrics.
Some of these considerations might be:
- The % of polyester in the recyclable materials.
- The required polyester content on the yarn to spin.
- The required % of recycled materials in the yarn.
Recycled fibers with elastane content will have no spinning issues in heavy counts but in fine counts problems can occur. To achieve optimal recyclability of your materials & products, elastane should be avoided.
Which types of textile waste does Recover™ recycle?
Recover™ recycles three categories of textile waste: post- industrial, pre-consumer and post-consumer.
- Post-industrial: This is textile fabric waste from garment manufacturing, also called clips or scraps.
- Pre-consumer: These are finished garments that could not be sold or used. These can be faulty goods, returns or overstock for example.
- Post-consumer: These are garments that have been worn. Recover™ recycles the fraction of garments that are not suitable for re-use.
How does the RColorBlend system work? Can the RColorBlend system generate every possible color?
RColorBlend is a proprietary process: Recover™ dye free recycled fiber is blended with other carrier fibers that have been low impact dyed (rPET, organic cotton, nylon, lyocell) to create fiber blends ready for spinning, with accurate and unique colors with minimal use of water and solvents.
Recover™ offers a catalogue with a standard color palette which evolves season-to-season. In addition, custom colors can be developed meeting customer design and production demands.
Which tests (eg color fastness, physical aspects of the fiber) does Recover™ perform?
All fiber lots are tested on several quality parameters against the quality standards that we have defined. All testing on fiber is done in-house or by a recognized testing lab. Tests on yarns, fabrics or products made from Recover™ fiber are performed as needed by mills, manufacturers, and retailers externally.
Where do you source the post-industrial, pre-consumer, and post-consumer cotton waste from?
Recover™ sources feedstock from all over the world.
Our main raw material is post-industrial textiles waste. The biggest sources of post-industrial waste are the main manufacturing hubs.
Post-consumer garments are sourced from textile sorters/recyclers who are able to sort these textiles on color and composition, which is a requirement for the Recover™ process.
Recover™ sources pre-consumer garments in dialogue with brands/retailers and suppliers who own and store these materials, and we check with them whether strategies to keep the garments in use have been exhausted first.
What kind of traceability does Recover™ provide of their feedstock back to the source?
Recover™ is GRS certified. The Global Recycled Standard (GRS) is an international, voluntary, full product standard that sets requirements for third-party certification of Recycled Content, chain of custody, social and environmental practices, and chemical restrictions. The goal of the GRS is to increase use of Recycled materials in products and reduce/eliminate the harm caused by its production.
The objectives of the GRS are:
- Alignment of definitions across multiple applications.
- Track and trace Recycled input materials.
- Provide customers (both brands and consumers) with a tool to make informed decisions.
- Reduce the harmful impact of production to people and the environment.
- Provide assurance that materials in the final product are Recycled and processed more sustainably.
- Drive innovation in addressing quality issues in the use of Recycled materials.
GRS doesn’t always provide traceability to the factory level. If required, Recover™ can provide information on the country of origin of the post-industrial waste material. To further improve traceability to the original source, Recover™ joined the Circular Fashion Partnership with Global Fashion Agenda, Reverse Resources, BGMEA and P4G, early 2021. In this project, we seek to enhance traceability of our post-industrial waste to the factory of origin via the Reverse Resources platform.
For our pre- and post-consumer feedstock, we source this directly from brands/suppliers and textile sorters/recyclers respectively. Recycled fiber lots from these materials can be traced back to these origins when requested.
Recover™ fiber specifications
What kind of fiber products does Recover™ produce?
Recover™ offers two families of recycled fiber products: RCotton and RColorBlend.
- RCotton is a family of Recover fiber products made from unblended recycled cotton fiber, suitable for overdyeing (RPure, RMix, RDenim).
- RColorblend is a family of Recover™ fiber products that have undergone our proprietary ColorBlend Process to achieve the perfect combination of performance and color matching accuracy (RBlue, REarth).
What’s Recover’s USP? How is Recover™ recycled fiber better than generic, non-branded recycled cotton that can be found in the market?
Recover ™ is a leading material sciences company and global producer of low-impact, high-performance recycled cotton fiber and cotton fiber blends. We deliver innovative and cost competitive recycled fibers and circular solutions at scale. We are constantly innovating, incorporating new technologies, with an expert team that guarantees value and teamwork with brands and partners.
Recover™ brings over 70 years of experience in mechanical recycling. For the past 3 years, Recover™ has worked with the best machine manufacturers to co-create state-of-the-art recycling technology that is exclusive to Recover™. Furthermore, Recover™ has a unique and proprietary ability called ColorBlend, that allows to deliver fiber that is already colored with no need to over dye the cotton.
Through third certifications and verifications (including GRS, OCS, UN Global Compact, Higg FEM/FSLM) we ensure the highest standards in environmentally and socially responsible production. We also perform LCA studies to enable us to continuously improve and provide optimal transparency to the industry and end-consumers regarding our sustainability performance. According to Higg MSI, Recover™ recycled cotton fiber generously outperforms conventional cotton fiber across all 5 categories: Global warming, Eutrophication, Water scarcity, Fossil fuel depletion and Chemistry.
We are not an on-demand supplier, we build strategic alliances with retailers, we have price stability and the opportunity to establish years of projection by signing agreements that guarantee a commitment to the recycled fiber capacity. Our focus on achieving the lowest impact, highest quality of recycled fiber on the market and our project scalability makes us unique and pioneers.
Yarns from Recover™ recycled fibers
Can you also produce ring spun yarns from Recover™ fiber?
Yes. In addition to open end yarns, Recover™ has successfully produced ring spun yarns. The spinning process and quality of these yarns has been validated with key suppliers and retailers.
Finished products from Recover™ fibers
Can you achieve a commercial handle on products made with Recover™ fiber?
Using Recover™ best practices for product optimization, the Recover™ Tech Support Teams will work with yarn and fabric mills to ensure the best handle attainable. Recover™ can deliver satisfactory finished products with the required commercial handle.
Recover™ capacity and lead times
What are Recover™ plans for expanding capacity?
The Recover™ headquarter is based in Banyeres de Mariola, Spain. New Recover™ production facilities in Bangladesh and Pakistan will be operational in the last quarter of 2021. Furthermore, Recover™ is planning expansion into Vietnam and Central America. Our goal is to have 200.000 metric tons of annual capacity by 2025. The new facilities will process post-industrial, as well as pre-consumer and post-consumer waste.
Why are you expanding capacity in manufacturing hubs?
Manufacturing hubs like Bangladesh and Pakistan are the largest producers of post-industrial waste, our main raw material resource. Additionally, these hubs are key producers of cotton garments, which further reduces the cost and impact of transport. We merge manufacture, waste and shredding in one area, thus reducing carbon footprint. Other locations for expansion like Vietnam and Central America are selected for similar reasons.
Are the lead times for Recover™ fiber longer than for other (virgin) raw materials?
Recover™ lead times are no different than those of other raw material suppliers. RCotton products will be available for immediate shipping as inventory will be maintained through a stock service program.
For RColorBlend products, Recover™ offers around 40 standard colors for which the same lead time applies.
Lead times for RColorBlend custom colors require an additional 1-2 weeks, depending on how fast the color development and confirmation can be done.
Footprint / Sustainability
What is Recover’s contribution to a circular textiles industry?
- Recover™ creates high quality recycled fibers from the three categories of textile waste at scale (post-industrial, pre-consumer and post-consumer textile waste).
- Recover™ works with Brands and supply chain partners to apply circular design principles and create products that are fit for a circular system.
- Recover™ is dedicated to providing full traceability and transparency regarding our company’s environmental and social impacts.
- Recover™ applies strict social and environmental standards in its facilities and promotes environmental and socially responsible practises within its partner network and beyond.
- Recover™ promotes new policies, standards and practises that support the transition to circular through advocacy (policy), thought leadership and action leadership.
Could you share the LCA studies for the Recover™ yarns?
Please find our LCA here. You can also access information regarding the environmental performance of Recover™ recycled fibers in the Higg MSI online database.
Does Recover™ take back used garments?
Recover™ does not collect used textiles. We source post-consumer materials through established textile collection and sorting companies. These companies operate in store take back programs, but also municipal or door to door collection. We advise end-consumers never to throw away their used textiles but to dispose of them via one of the take back schemes provided in their neighbourhood.
To what extent are you interested to grow the post-consumer input in the future and what would it take to have a good infrastructure in place for that?
High value recycling of pre- and post-consumer textile waste is an essential part of the circular textiles industry that we want to move towards as part of our vision to ‘achieve circular fashion for all’. Recover™ therefore aims to create high quality, commercial PCW recycled fiber products for the industry at scale.
Recover™ aims to have >40% of our inputs to come from pre- and post- consumer textile waste (PCW) by 2025 (±85.000 Metric tonnes). Strong collaborations between textile collectors/sorters, the supply chain and brands/retailers is key to establishing the circular supply chain that is needed for this. To achieve this goal, we are therefore active in several industry initiatives and work closely with selected sorters, supply chain and brand partners in order to develop and implement a scaled model for PCW recycling.
A view of agriculture that works in alignment with natural systems, recognizing the value and resilience of interconnected and mutually beneficial ecosystems vs. extractive agriculture systems. An acknowledgement that Indigenous and Native peoples have been employing this approach to growing food and fiber for centuries—it is not a new concept— and that regenerative agriculture must include a focus on social justice. Regenerative agriculture practices are relevant to all natural fibers, whether produced by cropping (cotton, bast fibers, other row crops used as biosynthetic feedstocks); grazing (leather, wool, and other animal fibers); or forestry (man-made cellulosic fibers, rubber plantations). Examples of regenerative practices include but are not limited to: crop rotations, cover cropping, reduction of off-farm inputs alongside maximization of on-farm inputs, diversification of pasture species, managed grazing rotations, silvopasture (combining trees with livestock and forage production), windbreaks, and alley cropping (growing agricultural crops alongside long-term tree crops). (Source: Regenerative Agriculture Landscape Analysis from Textile Exchange)
Microfibres are typically defined as any natural or synthetic microscopic fibres shed from textiles or related fibre-based products with a diameter of >50 micrometers, a length from 1 μm to 5 mm, and length to diameter ratio greater than 100. Microfibres are expected to come principally from apparel and clothing, as this represents the main use of both natural and synthetic fibres. (source: Microfibres: the invisible polution form textiles - First Sentier MUFG Sustainable Investment Institute)
Material that has been reprocessed from recovered material by means of a manufacturing process and made into a final product or into a component for incorporation into goods or services.
Fabric that hasn't been used due to quantity or quality and there is no plan for use.
Relates directly to relevant information that has been made available to all elements of the value chain in a standardized way, which allows common understanding, accessibility, clarity, and comparison.
Previously unused raw material such as wood, plant or animal fiber, metal ores, or petroleum.
thing for which the generator or holder has no further use and which is discarded or is released to the environment.
Material remaining after textile processing that cannot be manufactured into finished goods.
Goods that have been available to sell and not sold or merchandise with defects or quality issues.
A characteristic of goods or packaging that has been conceived and designed to accomplish within its life cycle a certain number of trips, rotations or uses for the same purpose for which it was conceived.
Textiles that have cycled through the value chain through use, reuse, repair, and remaking such that all readily accessible value is spent. Spent textiles are the feedstock for recycling processes that generate new material.
An initiative organized by a manufacturer, brand, or retailer to collect used products, components, or materials for refurbishment, re-manufacturing, recycling, resale, or other secondary purposes. For hazardous materials or those with no recoverable value, this includes safe disposal.
The ability to identify and trace the history, distribution, location and application of products, parts and materials, to ensure the reliability of sustainability claims, in the areas of human rights, labor (including health and safety), the environment and anti-corruption.
The system that records and follows the trail as products, parts, and materials come from suppliers and are processed and ultimately distributed as end products. Often when someone says ‘traceability system’ they mean an online traceability/tracking system, but this does not have to be the case. Systems used to ensure traceability vary widely and are designed to be fit for purpose (e.g. could be paper based or only go to a limited level of detail).
This is textile fabric waste from garment manufacturing, also called clips or scraps. Many times, post-industrial waste is grouped together with pre-consumer waste into one category: pre-consumer waste.
A characteristic of a product, packaging, or associated component that can be diverted from the waste stream through available processes and programs and can be collected, processed, and returned to use in the form of raw materials or products.
Proportion, by mass, of recycled material in goods or packaging. Only pre-consumer and post-consumer materials shall be considered as recycled content.
A site designated for the disposal of solid waste.
An accounting approach used to trace material through a value chain. This approach is often applied in the allocation of recycled content to different products with complex material properties.
Processes that use physical means such as shredding or melting to transform waste into feedstocks for new materials. For textiles, the output of mechanical recycling is a fiber or other material that can be used to make new yarn and fabric.
These are finished garments that could not be sold or used. These can be default goods or overstock for example.
Describes material generated by households or by commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities in their role as end-users of the product that can no longer be used for its intended purpose. This includes returns of materials from the distribution chain.
Design for recycling
Builds on the concept of design for disassembly to further specify the selection of materials that can be readily recycled. Strategies employed by this approach include designing single-fiber garments or selecting materials for which there are commercial recycling technologies available.
The ability of a material to remain serviceable for a long time without significant deterioration in quality or value. Generally, durability is determined by fiber type, fabric and garment construction and can be tested through, for example, abrasion resistance, fabric pilling, fabric handle, fabric stiffness, colourfastness, dimensional stability and stretch recovery.
A raw material supplied to a machine or processing plant.
Destroys waste material through burning. When the incinerated material is used to fuel an electric generator, incineration is referred to as “energy recovery” or “resource recovery”.
A polluting or poisonous substance that makes something impure Cut-Make-Trim (CMT): A three-stage production process wherein material is cut to a pattern (“cut”), sewn together (“make”), and finished (“trim”).
Design for durability
A concept that prioritizes design choices that will enhance product durability. Considerations include style, cut, fit, raw material selection, color, dye, and finish selection, and manufacturing specifications.
Any process that changes a polymer’s chemical structure to produce substances that can be used as raw materials to manufacture new products. Sometimes called advanced recycling.