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SAN FRANCISCO – Swedish recycling business, Re:newcell, has announced a new collaboration with US denim giant Levi’s. Levi’s has launched two new lines which will be produced using Circulose, a recycled materials which is made at Re:newcell’s plant in Kristinehamn.

Circulose’, a dissolving pulp, is produced using post-consumer and post-industrial cotton waste. Re:newcell takes old jeans, t-shirts and other worn out cotton clothes and transforms them into a new natural material without – it is claimed – quality loss. Circulose garments will be available to buy in stores in collaboration with selected brands over the coming months.

The new lines by Levi’s will be available to buy in the US and UK starting today and in the rest of the world starting later this week. “This collaboration is solid proof that Circulose a high-quality material and a direct substitute for unsustainable cotton. We’re incredibly proud,” said a spokesperson for Re:newcell.

Said Paul Dillinger, Levi’s vice president of global product innovation said: “The fashion industry has long been chasing the potential of the circular economy. The jeans we’ve made in collaboration with Re:newcell show it can be done.”

In February, H&M Group became the first retailer to use Circulose in a dress for its Conscious Exclusive collection.

Other collaborations by brands with Re:newcell are said to be in the pipeline, and there is no question Re:newcell is a front-runner in terms of recycling. That said, this collaboration is by no means circular, as marketing suggests. The jeans retailed by Levi’s will not be returned to Re:newcell for another ‘circle’. Instead, they will likely be recycled, downcycled or end up in landfill/incineration.

The question now also becomes one of scale and whether the likes of H&M and Levi’s will scale up these lines or whether they will be one-offs; much will depend on customer demand, as well as comparable prices for alternative virgin materials, in this case cotton.

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