Closing the loop: Touchpoint launches new workwear fabric ReTouch
Touchpoint, a pioneer in sustainable workwear solutions, launches a new workwear material made from textile processing company Rester’s recycled fiber. The recycled fibers are processed from end-of-life workwear. This is an important step towards a closed-loop recycling of textiles and more sustainable business models.
The long-term development work of two pioneers in the textile industry has resulted in ReTouch - a new cotton/polyester fabric for demanding workwear applications.What makes ReTouch so special is that it contains over 10 % recycled fiber from recovered sheets and workwear and it meets the requirements of a workwear fabric in terms of quality and durability. The recycled content in the fabric reduces its carbon footprint with almost 10 % lower emissions compared to a similar fabric made entirely from virgin raw materials.
Product development of this workwear fabric started already in 2021, with the aim of proving that mechanically processed recycled fibers are suitable for workwear materials.
"At Touchpoint, we are excited that our ReTouch fabric meets the quality requirements of a workwear fabric and that it is suitable for industrial laundering," says Noora Salonoja, CEO of Touchpoint. "We can now offer more sustainable solutions to our broad customer base from the service sector to the care industry."
"The long-term product development in co-operation with various stakeholders is a proof that the end-of-life textile collection, sorting and mechanical recycling has value in the textile circular economy ecosystem. We already have the opportunity to accelerate the transformation of the textile sector and set new standards for textiles", says Anna-Kaisa Huttunen, the director of partnerships at Rester.
Recovering textile fibers is not only a solution to the growing textile waste problem, but it also reduces the need of virgin raw materials from Asia and reduce emissions from textile production, water -and energy consumption. Textile fiber production has doubled in the last 20 years (Textile Exchange 2022) and the textile sector is a major contributor to climate emissions: the production of one tonne of textiles generates around 15-35 tonnes of CO2e (EEA 2023a). Europe generates around 7.5 million tonnes of textile waste per year, of which about one third is collected and only 1% is successfully recycled into fiber. Of the 90 million kilos of textile waste generated annually in Finland, around 80 % ends up as raw material for energy production (Gaia, STJM 2020). The need for more sustainable approaches in the textile sector is obvious.
The next goal for Touchpoint and Rester is to expand the use of recycled fibers in other workwear fabrics and to gradually increase the share of recycled content in fabrics. ReTouch fabric has already been tested in the product development phase by workwear rental company Lindström, which is interested in adding the material to its range of fabrics.