New Cotton Project: Introducing RISE

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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 month, we meet Torun Hammar, Researcher in Materials and Production at RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, to discuss her involvement in the project.

Please give an overview of your company and job role.

RISE Research Institutes of Sweden is an independent and state-owned research institute. Through international collaboration with industry, academia and the public sector, RISE ensures business competitiveness and contributes to a sustainable society. RISE has a long and extensive experience of working with textiles and new technologies leading to increased environmental, social and economic sustainability.

I work as a researcher at RISE, focusing on evaluating environmental impacts of different types of products and systems by performing life cycle assessment.

What is your participation in the New Cotton Project?

Our role in the New Cotton project is to perform sustainability assessment of the Infinna™ fibre, which includes both the fibre itself and the garments made by this fibre. The aim is to demonstrate sustainability of circular textile value chains, but also to identify important aspects for further improvements.

RISE will evaluate different aspects of sustainability by performing 1) life cycle assessment to evaluate the environmental performance, 2) techno-economic analysis to evaluate the economic performance, and 3) OEKO-TEX® certification that includes STeP, STANDARD 100 and MADE IN GREEN. The work will capture all three dimensions of suitability, i.e. environmental, economic and social aspects.

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

One challenge is to collect and sort post-consumer textile feedstock with the right specifications. For the sustainability assessment, it is always a challenge to find specific quality data. Here, collaboration with the New Cotton Project partners is crucial.

Where do you see the greatest opportunities in collaboration?

A transition to a circular economy requires a holistic view where collaboration by stakeholders along the textile value chain is an imperative. The New Cotton Project has the advantage of including both academia and industry, which gives the project good opportunities to succeed.

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

A life cycle thinking needs to be implemented along the whole value chain, i.e. from raw material selection, design, manufacturing, use and end of life management. Here, European initiatives like the New Cotton Project can play an important role in leading this paradigm shift toward a more sustainable textile industry.

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