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OTB and Diesel set up new pilot project in Tunisia for cotton recycling

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2022-08-04 05:27:00 – Tunisia

Diesel’s parent company, OTB Group, is launching a pilot project with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to develop a low-emission circular business system.

The project, which will last until 2023, will see Diesel and its Tunisian industrial partners create a "virtuous cycle" for scrap from fabric-cutting operations.

Supplier participation is necessary. The project's premise is that manufacturing scrap can and should be considered a resource and that more responsible raw material utilization may be done through a circular business model that extends throughout the supply chain.

According to OTB, Tunisia creates 31,000 tons of garbage, 55% of which is classified as scrap. Replacing virgin textile fibers with recycled fibers can thereby minimize the industry's environmental effect, preserve water, and reduce carbon emissions and the spread of harmful chemical compounds in agriculture.

According to the company, the business model "not only ensures that the value of raw materials is maintained throughout the local supply chain, but it also contributes to the overall system's adoption of a circular approach that minimizes reliance on virgin resources." and optimizes the scrap, turning it once again into a raw material that provides value."

OTB launched an updated sustainability strategy in 2021, focused on three primary areas: environmental protection, product focus, and social commitment. The Italian company's activities will be carbon neutral by 2030. To that end, it has launched various circularity initiatives through Diesel, including Diesel Second Hand, a resale company fueled by a European buyback scheme.

The OTB and Diesel pilot project is part of the EU-funded Switchmade program, which was created in partnership with the Tunisian government and the Tunisian Textiles and Clothing Federation. The program intends to create a precedent in the fashion industry by increasing the usage of recycled materials and textiles.

The second step of UNIDO's endeavor to assist Tunisia to establish itself as a worldwide center for sustainable denim is recycling and reducing trash. In December 2020, Swedish denim maker Nudi Jeans collaborated with Switchmade to refashion second-quality jeans with minor flaws, such as discolored washing, uneven stitching, or irregular cutting, into new jeans. The pilot initiative replaced 6,530 pairs of second-quality jeans with 16,000 new pairs produced from 20% recycled cotton, exceeding the project's intended goal of 15,000. Pilot jeans are available in select Nudie Jeans locations and online.

Post-industrial waste recycling represents a $350 billion potential for Tunisia, according to Accelerating Circularity, a collaborative endeavor launched by the sustainable materials group Textile Exchange. According to UNIDO Chief Technical Advisor Roberta De Palma, the initiative has the ability to "create an example of the possibilities of a wholly local recycling value chain in Tunisia."

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