Tulsa firm helps curb massive flow of textile waste

A sustainable technology firm in Tulsa has joined forces with a company in India to create “virgin quality” products from textile waste and thereby reduce harm to the environment brought by the “fast fashion” industry.

The project partner in Tulsa, PurFi Global LLC, specializes in rejuvenating textile waste using 96% less water and 90% less energy than what’s used in virgin fiber production. According to a release, its proprietary manufacturing process and solution is novel in the industry and encompasses more than 30 patents and 400 trade secrets. Through a partnership with Belgium-based Concordia Textiles, it said it has created the first “global circular” fiber company.

PurFi’s partner, Gujarat, India-based Arvind Ltd., is a textile-to-retail conglomerate with focus on apparels, advanced materials, and omni-channel commerce. It ranks among the top suppliers of fabric worldwide.

According to the release, through their partnership the companies hope to diminish effects of an estimated 64 billion pounds of post-industrial textile waste and 284 billion pounds of post-consumer textile waste that flows annually into landfills around the world. They noted that only about 12% of textiles globally are recycled, and only about 1% is upcycled.

PurFi’s proprietary technology has emerged as a proven and complete solution for rejuvenating textiles back into virgin-like fibers, the companies said.

“We are thrilled to partner with Arvind as they share our values and have a rich history of innovation, superior textile manufacturing capabilities and commitment to sustainability,” PurFi founder and CEO Joy Nunn said. “Arvind immediately understood the value and promise of our technology and will increase efficiencies in their production with rejuvenated fabric. In addition, our unique tracers that are specific to PurFi rejuvenated fibers provide customers with a clear line of sight to the origin of the fibers they source. This authentic product identifier is of great value to manufacturers like Arvind, who are committed to providing transparency into their sustainability practices and understand that rejuvenated materials have moved from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’ in their product offerings.”

PurFi and Arvind will locate the first in a series of planned fiber rejuvenation facilities near one of Arvind’s manufacturing sites in India. The facility will process textile waste materials – white cotton, colored cotton, denim and synthetics – into virgin-like fibers for reuse from two lines. Each line will have a 5,500-ton capacity per year. Plans are already in place to expand them over the next five years. Some $25 million to $30 million will be invested.

As plans unfold, the companies said they will add capacity to remove “elastomers” from fabrics, utilizing another of PurFi’s proprietary technologies. Currently, 85% of the world’s apparel contains elastomers, which makes it very difficult to recycle or rejuvenate.

Construction of the India facility is expected to begin soon, and full production is anticipated to commence in the fourth quarter of 2023.

“Unlike the traditional ‘one-and-done’ recycling approach, PurFi’s technology can rejuvenate waste materials into virgin-like fibers 17 times, and it can be done at scale,” Arvind Limited President and CEO Ashish Kumar said. “Working together, we believe we can lead the textile and fashion industries into a new era of sustainable practices, transforming textile manufacturing into a truly closed loop cycle.”

Source: https://journalrecord.com/