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Victor, Designtex, and Steelcase announced today a collaborative effort with Unifi to initiate a program to recycle textile industry waste back into fiber and yarn that will be used in first quality fabrics, creating a closed loop process. In an effort to drive sustainable innovation, these companies are establishing a program whereby fabric waste from pre-approved Victor products at Steelcase’s Athens, Alabama panel manufacturing facility will be segregated, collected, and sent to Unifi’s REPREVE® Recycling Center in North Carolina to be recycled into fiber and yarn. This yarn will be sent to Victor to be woven into new products for Designtex and Steelcase.

The complicated logistics of waste reclamation are the reason this has not yet become an industry practice. These companies are committed to working through the obstacles and extending their responsibility to capture production waste, and ultimately consumer waste, to feed back into their own supply chain as raw materials for the next generation of products.

The REPREVE® Textile Takeback Program is a unique recycling program that reclaims various polyester based fabrics, including supply chain waste and post-consumer fabrics that have reached their end of use. This waste is collected, and recycled back into new first-quality fiber and yarn. Initially, the source of the fabric waste going into this program will be drawn from the apparel supply chain. In the future, this program will also include fabric waste from Steelcase manufacturing.

This concept will be first realized in a new upholstery offering, which will be titled Loop 2 Loop, an Eco Intelligence® product designed by Designtex and woven at Victor. This product will utilize the new REPREVE® Takeback fiber that will contain fabric waste. The REPREVE Textile Takeback Program provides our industry with a solution to recycle polyester based supply chain waste destined for landfills.

“Loop 2 Loop represents the next generation of our Eco Intelligence® Initiatives,” said Alain Duval, President of Victor. “It has been our goal all along to design and manufacture products that can remain in a closed loop system of manufacture, and this collaboration will enable us to begin to achieve this goal.”

Not only will it be created from recycled content from within the textile industry, it will also be designed and manufactured for future recycling as well. Despite being made from recycled yarn incorporating textile fabric waste, Loop 2 Loop and other products slated for future development will retain their raw materials’ integrity and value through multiple lifetimes. A prototype of this exciting new concept will be on display in the Designtex showroom (#1032A) at NeoCon 2012.

“This project represents a major innovation in textile design, manufacturing, and recycling, as well as logistics,” said Carol Derby, Director of Environmental Strategy at Designtex. “This new closed loop initiative wouldn’t exist without Steelcase’s ability to segregate and accumulate waste, Unifi’s unique textile recycling technology, Victor’s manufacturing capabilities, and Designtex’s ability to intentionally design fabrics for future recyclability. This is collaboration at its very best, in the service of sustainability.”