From ”no more” to OnceMore – textile can be reused.
OnceMore by Södra
Forest company Södra in Halland has developed the world’s first process for recycling blended-fiber textile waste. Using raw materials from the forest to make this a possibility, OnceMore is a circular process transforming large volumes of used textiles into new clothes.
Each year, a hundred million tons of textiles globally, and 85,000 tons in Sweden, are turned into waste. They deserve a better destiny than ending up in the trash and being incinerated.
– You have to consider the possibility that waste can be raw material for someone else. Working across industry borders is becoming more important than ever. OnceMore is an example of that, says Catrin Gustavsson, Business Area Manager Innovation at economic forestry association Södra.
Textile + wood = pulp
The OnceMore process combines cellulose from wood with fibers from used textiles, creating a pure, high quality textile pulp.
– The textiles we can process are viscose, polyester and cotton, as well as polycotton, a blend of polyester and cotton. Being able to process that blend makes our technology unique, says Catrin.
Trends and legislation within the EU pushes the development of circular sustainability models. Additionally, Sweden has created a national strategy for a circular economy.
– At Södra, we work a lot with circularity. It’s not a question of if but rather when all companies and consumers have to consider this, she says.
– At Södra, we work a lot with circularity. It’s not a question of ”if” but rather ”when” all companies and consumers have to consider this.
Collaboration with companies and fashion brands
Södra operates within the manufacturing industry. When they develop new products outside their ordinary production, they need to collaborate with other companies and institutions. Finnish recycling company Rester, Scandinavian fashion company Lindex, Chalmers Tekniska Högskola in Gothenburg, PM Vänner & Hotell and Danish clothing and accessory company Bestseller, have all been important collaborators to Södra when developing OnceMore.
– In this case, collaborating with these brands has been crucial. They are the ones able to demand more sustainable products. It’s important for us to collaborate with a company like Bestseller, since Södra is a raw material producer located way back in the production chain.
Demand from customers for circular solutions
OnceMore is a benefit to Södra’s members and customers who want to live up to sustainability demands and be part of the transformation in global society. Clothing industry brands demand these types of products since customers request them, and because they want to be more circular and sustainable.
– It’s really exciting that we can be of help and be a part of this process, and that the textiles that previously ended up in a landfill or were incinerated, now can be recycled and come to use again, says Catrin Gustavsson.
Yangi: Reshaping the world of packaging.
Are plastics’ days numbered? Through new and unique technology, wood cellulose fibers are being pressurized to packages able to replace plastic and fossil-fuel made packaging polluting our environment.
– Yangi’s dry forming technology is groundbreaking. And it’s happening here, in Halland, says Anna Altner, Loop Factory Holding CEO and founder of Yangi.
Plastic is cheap to produce and there are currently no techniques in place for natural materials able to compete, cost-wise, and replace it. But times are changing. The EU is preparing an extensive legislative package concerning sustainability issues, including the packaging industry.
– As the legislation is being implemented, we see a huge increase in demand for alternative materials, wanting to replace plastics, says Anna Altner.
Ms. Altner is the CEO of Loop Factory Holdning and founder of Yangi and The Loop Factory. The goal of each company is to develop new, innovative technology for natural, resource-effective materials and circular solutions.
Born in Varberg, Halland
Anna Altner was born and raised in Varberg and has a background in the paper industry where she’s spent most of her professional career. She’s also an experienced chemical engineer focusing on technology, sustainability and innovation, with particular attention towards packaging innovation.
– In Varberg and Halland, there’s a closeness to forest raw materials and companies working with fiber-based products. There’s a large competence within cellulose-based materials in Sweden and Scandinavia as well, with a research initiative aimed at how we can utilize the forest in manufacturing new products. This creates an incentive for global companies to turn to us for expertise, Ms. Altner says.
Wood could be a plastic industry alternative
In 2014, Anna Altner came in contact with a Danish inventor developing pilot facilities meant to replace plastic packaging. The inventor was stuck, and wished for someone else to take over the steering wheel.
– I’d previously been involved in different research projects with a similar goal, so I immediately felt that this could be the beginning of something really unique. I just couldn’t pass the opportunity up. The acquisition of the pilot machine, including research documentation, became the foundation of The Loop Factory, the beginning of developing this new, cutting-edge packaging technology, Anna Altner says.
The company is supported by the EU
In late 2021 going into 2022, the Loop Factory project broke free and became a company of its own – Yangi. The goal was to become a global company and an alternative to the massive plastic industry.
Yangi is a startup where border-crossing collaborations and reaching out for competancy beyond company borders is key.
– We don’t want our technology to be riddled with different patents. It’s supposed to be used by as many people as possible, Ms. Altner says.
The EU recently allocated huge financial support for the Yangi project, while the next generation machine is in development.
– Cost-wise, we’re getting close to the price of plastic. But at the same time, the ability to pay for products with or without plastic is increasing. Legislative and consumer presssure together with brand owners’ sustainability goals has completely transformed the playing field when it comes to sustainable materials. We had a totally different situation two years ago, Ms. Altner says.
Yangi is renewable, compostable & recyclable
Manufacturing packaging without water is the core of this unique process. Replacing water is air, releasing the fibers from the cellulosa of the paper mass. The end product is something similar to cotton, squeezed together by applying heat and pressure, able to be shaped into packaging when needed.
– The process minimizes the climate footprint and equals 30 to 70 percent lower CO2 emissions, compared to plastics, depending on packaging. Furthermore, the materials we’re using are renewable, compostable and recyclable. To a large degree, it’s about using the Earth’s resources in an efficient way, Ms. Altner says.
What type of packaging materials can be replaced by Yangi?
– Hard-plastic food packaging which is being used extensively today. The challenge is to have the right kind of packaging in place. Dry-forming technique hasn’t been researched a lot, which is what Yangi’s mostly focused on. The knowledge and competence born from this is completely unique, cutting-edge both in Sweden and the world. And it’s happening right here, in Halland, Anna Altner says.
The process minimizes the climate footprint and equals 30 to 70 percent lower CO2 emissions, compared to plastics, depending on packaging. Furthermore, the materials we’re using are renewable, compostable and recyclable.
Anna Altner, CEO of Loop Factory Holding and founder of Yangi.