New Cotton Project: Introducing Frakenhuis

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The EU 2020 Horizon funded New Cotton Project, brings together twelve pioneering players to demonstrate a circular model for commercial garment production.

This week we meet Tich Vandunen, General Manager of  Frakenhuis to discuss her involvement in the project.

Please give an overview of your company and job role.

As general manager and partner of Frankenhuis I am responsible for driving the vision and strategy of the company. When I acquired Frankenhuis in 2016, the business was focused on producing padding solely for the automotive industry. Today, we have expanded beyond the tearing lines to also develop fibers for various non-woven applications. We also prepare post-consumer textiles materials to develop it into the perfect raw material for the chemical recycling industry. To facilitate this we invested in a powder line in order to mill cotton into 2 mm powder, we are also adjusting our mechanical recycling processes into a more circular system, ensuring we can make fibers that can be spun into new yarns for clothing production

What is your participation in the New Cotton Project?

Our role in the New Cotton Project is focused on finding the best way, both technically and economically, to turn post-consumer garments into the perfect feedstock for the newly developed chemical recycle processes.

What challenges and pitfalls do you think will arise in the New Cotton Project?

Finding material stock for trials like the New Cotton Project isn’t difficult, but finding good materials and preparation methods to generate the large quantities needed for commercial activity is currently quite challenging. In order to scale textile to textile recycling we need to overcome the challenge we face in finding the right volume, right quality and right price to scale commercially. This is one of the key challenges for us in this project.

Where do you see the greatest opportunities in collaboration?

Right now we are focused on developing the supply needs for good feedstock but there is a great opportunity in developing understanding of how we can take feedstock from regular collection and turn that into raw materials for textile production. This is where we will be able to help scale our recycling ambitions further. . 

Where do you see the future of circularity in the fashion and textiles industry?

At Frankenhuis, we believe that recycling methods will develop in such a way that finally we will be able to return all textile materials to their initial purpose. We still have a long way to go but the aim of the New Cotton Project is to explore how circular ecosystems can help make this future a reality. Collaboration, communication and seamless processes will be key.

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