Dubbed Refibra, it is the first cellulose fiber featuring recycled material on a commercial scale and was launched Tuesday at the Première Vision textile fair in Paris. The fiber is produced in the Tencel production process.
Now Tencel, an environmentally responsible fiber of botanic origin, is the root of what Lenzing feels is likely the most sustainable fiber.
Refibra is essentially Tencel made from cotton scraps and wood and the company feels it will further build its reputation as a leader in the field of environmental fiber technology and push new solutions in the textile industry toward a circular economy by recycling production waste.
“For Lenzing, developing circular business models in the fashion industry ensures the decoupling of business growth from pressure on ecological resource consumption,” said Stefan Doboczky, chief executive officer of Austria-based Lenzing. “It reduces the need to extract additional virgin resources from nature and reduces the net impact on ecological resources.”
Refibra stands for “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.”
“The brand name Refibra and the claim ‘Reborn Tencel fiber’ illustrate immediately that this new kind of fiber is made of recycled materials promising reduced reliance on natural raw materials,” said Robert van de Kerkhof, chief commercial officer of Lenzing.
To assure customers that the fiber, made from recycled material, is really in the textiles, Lenzing has developed a new identification system that makes it possible to identify the Refibra fiber in the finished textile. This guarantees transparency in the overall processing chain.
The Refibra fiber itself is part of the global Lenzing Branding Service and the brand is licensed once the textile has undergone a certification process.
“Close cooperation with leading companies who attach particular importance to sustainability is a prerequisite for a successful market launch,” van de Kerkhof said. “These pioneering companies offer the possibility of jointly developing concepts that contribute to a more sustainable fashion industry and promote the circular economy in this sector as well.”
Van de Kerkhof said with Refibra, Lenzing is addressing further waste as a resource.
“The target is to close the loop,” he added. “We will not stop our innovation before we are there. Lenzing is working for a better planet.”
In December, Lenzing said it was investing $293 million to build a Tencel fiber plant in Mobile, Ala., where it already has a factory. The new facility will have a production capacity of 90,000 tons a year and will be the largest Tencel fiber plant in the world.
In the nine months through Sept. 30, Lenzing reported consolidated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization rose 52.2 percent to $342.5 million. Consolidated revenue increased 8.2 percent in the same period to $1.69 billion.