Eastman collaborates with Debrand to recycle apparel waste from top brands

Advancing textile-to-textile recycling solutions through collaborative innovation
Eastman, a specialty materials company and producer of Naia™ cellulosic fibers, has formed a strategic collaboration with Debrand, a prominent, next-life logistics company specializing in finding sustainable solutions to apparel waste for some of the world’s top apparel and footwear brands.

Teaming up with Debrand for collection of the waste, Eastman is using its cutting-edge molecular recycling technology to recycle 5,000 pounds of pre- and post-consumer apparel waste. The process breaks down apparel waste to its molecular building blocks and uses the certified recycled material to create Naia™ Renew fibers — circular fibers made from 60% sustainably sourced wood pulp and 40% recycled waste material via Global Recycled Standard-certified mass balance.

Employee holds shredded apparel  © 2024 Debrand
Employee holds shredded apparel © 2024 Debrand

“We are committed to advancing sustainable solutions for the fashion industry,” said Claudia de Witte, Eastman’s textiles sustainability leader. “Partnering with Debrand allows us to drive progress on our Naia™ sustainability goals, particularly to mainstream circularity by creating sustainable solutions for textiles that have reached end of life and turning them into valuable resources for new Naia™ Renew fibers. This collaboration underscores our commitment to work closely with key collectors and sorters to drive the necessary infrastructure changes for advancing sustainability in the fashion industry.”

Eastman and Debrand are showcasing the transformative potential of molecular recycling technology to address the textile waste crisis. By providing more circular solutions for apparel waste, this partnership sets a new standard for sustainable practices in the fashion industry. Prior to its collaboration with Eastman, Debrand secured a strategic investment from Waste Management, the leading provider of comprehensive waste management in North America, to deliver circular solutions across the U.S. and Canada.

Apparel waste bales for shipping © 2024 Debrand
Apparel waste bales for shipping © 2024 Debrand

“We are excited to collaborate with Eastman on this innovative pilot project and create building blocks toward valuable systems of sustainability,” said Lina G. Londono, vice president of sustainability at Debrand. “We took on this project with an intentional and iterative approach that would reach meaningful milestones. This project was designed to offer scalability and accessibility for other brands that would want to participate in the future.”

Eastman continues to partner with strategic brands and organizations to drive innovation and enhance the infrastructure for a circular economy in the textiles industry. Recently, Eastman teamed up with Patagonia to recycle 8,000 pounds of its unusable apparel, demonstrating Eastman’s commitment to close the loop on textiles.

Apparel waste processing © 2024 Debrand
Apparel waste processing © 2024 Debrand

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