Four Designtex Contract Fabric Collections Result From Expanded Recycled Waste Program With Four Partners

July 28, 2015


CHICAGO, Illinois — Designtex presented four new styles of contract fabrics based on a closed loop platform at Neocon 2015 made from recycled waste polyester.

These products are featured in the new Designtex + West Elm Workspace collection. “Designtex will continue to tackle the design challenge to create new products that also enable future recyclability,” according to Susan Lyons, President of Designtex. “We believe that the new model for material supply chains needs to be a circular one, and this collaboration is a good demonstration that it is both possible and profitable,” Lyons says. Susan LyonsSusan Lyons

This is the result of a joint effort between Designtex, Steelcase, a $3 billion company and also the owner of Designtex; Victor and Unifi (producer of Repreve) as they continue to collaborate on eliminating waste materials through recycling. “This unique initiative represents more than just an innovative recycling program for our industry’s waste. It shows how collaboration at multiple levels of the supply chain can enable us to develop better business models for the future,” said Alain Duval, President and CEO of Victor. Alain DuvalAlain Duval

Victor and Designtex products at Steelcase’s Athens, Alabama manufacturing facility is segregated, collected and sent to Unifi’s Repreve® Recycling Center in North Carolina to be recycled into first quality Repreve fiber, according to a Victor spokesman. The yarn is then sent to Victor and developed into new woven fabrics for Steelcase and Designtex. 

With the goal of taking this closed loop initiative to the next level, the team met again in St. Georges, Quebec at Victor headquarters, to discuss further expansion of this circular economy model. 

Based on this platform, the traditional supply chain is being redesigned, as Steelcase becomes a supplier of raw materials to Unifi. The group of four companies involved has shifted its effort from the complexity of dealing with the textile waste alone to expanding the product waste collection while providing more secondary raw materials for new product development by Victor, Designtex and Steelcase.

From a product design standpoint, Victor’s emphasis on sustainable products and processes, as well as its vertical operation, has enabled this mill to develop new yarns and fabrics with the closed loop componentry that align with the product directions of both Designtex and Steelcase. In addition to being developed with recycled polyester components, the closed loop fabrics are designed and manufactured for recyclability.

Unifi says its ongoing technological advancements in recycling textile waste into first quality fibers have enabled the success and growth of the closed loop program.  Unifi continues to expand its raw material feed stocks, recycling capabilities, and capacity for recycling textiles and plastics.

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