The circular economy is possible when safe material inputs are designed to cycle. This begins at the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Gold level, setting the bar for materials that can be confidently and perpetually used and reused.

With the Call to Innovation, our Fashion Positive PLUS members have identified shared material needs and are taking their aligned message to the market so suppliers can see growing demand for materials that are primed for the circular economy.

When a material nominated by Fashion Positive PLUS members reaches Gold level certification, it will be added to the Fashion Positive Materials Collection

In answering the call, we will work together toward material solutions that are circular, scalable and certified.

Materials Focus List

  • Rayon

    Rayon is a regenerated cellulosic fiber, made from purified cellulose obtained from wood pulp.   

    Consideration: Chemicals used in the processing of rayon are hazardous to both humans and the environment. Wood pulp for rayon may be sourced from ancient or endangered forests, and recycling technology is limited.

    Opportunity: Optimize processing chemicals, verify sustainable sources for wood pulp, and design rayon to cycle.  

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  • Reactive Dyes for Cotton

    Reactive dyes consist of highly colored, bright shades that dye cellulosic materials like cotton, rayon, linen, flax and lyocell. They can also be used to dye protein fibers like wool and silk, as well as nylon, but the reaction conditions are different.

    Consideration: Reactive dyes use a large amount of auxiliaries such as salts, soda ash and detergents during the dyeing process. Many reactive dyes contribute to wasteful use of petroleum-derived chemicals.

    Opportunity: Optimize processing chemicals, verify sustainable sources for inputs, and design reactive dyes for circular usage.

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  • Indigo for Denim

    Indigo is a rich, deep blue colored dye used to dye denim.

    Consideration: While indigo can be sourced form the leaves of the Indigofera tinctoria plant, it's most often derived from non-renewable petrochemical sources. Toxic dye auxiliaries are needed in the dyeing process, including aniline, a possible carcinogen, which remains as a contaminant in the fabric. 

    Opportunity: More indigo is produced than any other dye in the world. Although the denim industry has embraced sustainability as a platform for innovation, prior to now, most of the innovation has occurred either at the fiber or finished garment stage. Circular indigo dye can help build the perfect jean.   

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  • Lyocell

    Lyocell is a cellulosic fiber made from hardwood wood pulp such as oak or birch. Staple fibers are used in denim and chinos. Filament fibers, which are softer and silkier than staple ones, are used in women’s clothing and dress shirts. Lyocell can be blended with other fibers, as well.

    Consideration: As with other cellulosic fibers, feedstock of wood pulp must be sustainably sourced.  

    Opportunity: Verify sustainable sources for wood pulp and design lyocell to cycle.  

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  • Sulfur Dyes

    Sulfur dyes are used to dye cotton. They have a limited range of hues and are mostly black, brown, and dark blue. 

    Consideration: Sulfur dyes require wasteful and highly toxic dye auxiliaries for the dying process. One of these auxiliaries, sodium sulfide, is eventually released as effluent and is not biodegradable. 

    Opportunity: Optimize processing chemicals, verify sustainable sources for inputs, and design sulfur dyes for circular usage.

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  • Recycled Polyester

    Recycled polyester is polyester produced from recycled sources such as plastic water bottles, industrial polyester waste or garments. Polyester is a synthetic fiber derived from crude oil. Polyester is the fastest growing fiber in the world. 

    Consideration: Recycled polyester is made with a mechanical process that uses plastic PET bottles derived from petrochemicals. Antimony trioxide, a hazardous chemical, is used as a catalyst during the manufacture of PET resin. Recycling and reusing PET perpetuates exposure to antimony trioxide.

    Opportunity: Remove toxic chemicals and identify a reutilization plan for recycled polyester. The advantages of recycled polyester over virgin include reduced waste to landfill, reduced energy and water usage during manufacturing and reduced demand for non-renewable, environmentally degrading petrochemicals.

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  • Cuprammonium Rayon

    Cuprammonium rayon is a regenerated cellulosic fiber made from cotton linter dissolved in cuprammonium solution. Cotton linter is the short downy fiber that enfolds the cottonseed; it is an agricultural byproduct.

    Consideration: The cuprammonium rayon manufacturing process uses wasteful, auxiliary hazardous chemicals. The copper used in the process is often sourced from virgin material, even though copper is highly recyclable. While cuprammonium rayon fibers are biodegradable, the finished textile is enhanced with chemicals, such as dyes, softeners and other finishing agents that may limit biodegradability.

    Opportunity: Optimize processing conditions and design cuprammonium rayon to cycle.

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Join the Circular Economy with Certified Materials

Innovators, suppliers and manufacturers, click here to collaborate with Fashion Positive PLUS on the Call to Innovation.

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