Inditex partners with MIT to develop new high-quality recycled fabrics
May 5, 2017
The Spanish group Inditex, which owns Zara among other brands, wants 10 percent of its clothing to come from recycled or organic fabrics.
Additionally, Inditex wants the use of recycled clothing to become a habit among Spanish consumers as part of its environmental strategy for 2020, which aims to promote the use of recycled fabrics in its collections.
The fast fashion giant’s goal is that eight out of ten of the pieces in its collections this year be made with recycled or organic textiles. One of the pillars of the project is a partnership with the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology to create new, high-quality recycled fabrics.
Financed by Inditex, MIT will launch a contest aimed at Spanish universities and their research teams to present environmentally driven projects. The winners will receive funding to develop their ideas with the support of MIT experts.
“We want to catch up with specialists in this field, which means us developing recycling technology and new fabrics," Inditex said in a news release about the effort.
In terms of collecting old clothes, Zara has formed an agreement with the charity institute Caritas to collect used clothing from their customers at containers in their stores or online.
Caritas collects 25,000 tons of clothes annually, 180 tons of which come from Inditex clothes. Some of the clothing is sold as second-hand clothing to people with limited resources and the rest is recycled into new fabrics that Inditex uses in its collections.
The company also collaborated with Caritas to set up 2,000 containers in public areas to collect used clothing. The Spanish conglomerate has also made similar agreements with organizations like Oxfam and the Red Cross.
In addition to the use of recycled fabrics, the Spanish group also wants to promote sustainable materials in its collections. That includes organic cotton cultivated without chemical fertilizers or pesticides, the new fabric Refibre created by Lenzing with recycled cotton and wood pulp, and Recover yarn made of recycled cotton from Hilaturas Ferre.
Inditex’s plan to increase the use of recycled fabrics is a “circular economy” project, whose ultimate goal is to minimize the environmental impact of all phases of production, from the manufacturing of clothing to store operations. Inditex’s goal is that by 2020, 100 percent of its stores are eco-efficient and reduce their emissions by 55 percent.