Fashion Updates | Fibers / Yarns Innovations

New “Fiber Recycling Initiative” by TENCEL™ spotlights circularity with mechanical recycling of TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers

Published: April 3, 2023
Author: Fashion Value Chain

˜  “Fiber Recycling Initiative” by TENCEL™ set to transform the future of the textile industry with circularity and innovation at heart, starting with the denim segment in the initial phase

˜  Lenzing’s long-term partners are at the forefront of fiber circularity, advocating for the mechanical recycling of TENCEL™ branded lyocell fibers for use in the production of original denim fabrics at a commercial scale

Lenzing – Lenzing Group, a leading global producer of wood-based specialty fibers, introduced the initial phase of the “Fiber Recycling Initiative” by TENCEL™ alongside its valued mill partners, Artistic Milliners from Pakistan, Canatiba from Brazil and Textil Santanderina from Spain. Dedicated to driving circularity in the global textile industry, the new initiative kicks-off with the production of denim fabrics derived from mechanically recycled TENCEL™ branded lyocell fibers. With usage of pre-consumer lyocell waste at a commercial scale, the initiative redefines the circular future of a sustainable denim industry globally.

“Brands and consumers count on us to lead the change towards a more sustainable industry value chain,” said Tuncay Kılıçkan, Head of Global Business Development, Denim, at Lenzing. “As we constantly seek ways to improve circularity across various components of the textile industry, our like-minded, decades-long value chain partners have innovatively discovered the mechanical recycling of TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers in denim production. While such concept is still relatively new to the wider industry, the development of the “Fiber Recycling Initiative” by TENCEL™ sets out to promote the benefits and unleash the full potential of the new circular fabric.”

Transforming the future of denim with mechanically recycled TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers

The initial phase of the new circularity initiative spotlights the ongoing quest for sustainable denim production and innovation from Lenzing and its mill partners as they answer a common call for sustainability, circularity and transparency in the global textile value chain. This is driven by a growing demand from consumers who are looking for more sustainable and circular product options.

“Denim circularity is undeniably the present, and the inevitable future of denim,” said Baber Sultan, Director of Research, Product and Trend at Artistic Milliners. “We have seen wider adaptation of mechanical recycling beyond textiles, particularly in paper and construction industries. Considering the high tenacity of TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers, there is an edge to increase recycled content while producing higher quality fabrics. The new fabric has so much potential across global markets, especially with the nostalgia around Y2K and other vintage looks. The classic salt and pepper effect really blooms with mechanically recycled TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers, along with that neppy denim aesthetics.”

Virgin TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers are reputable for their environmentally responsible, closed loop production process, which transforms sustainably sourced wood pulp into cellulosic fibers with high resource efficiency and low carbon footprint. Mechanically recycled TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers adds to the sustainability features of the denim fabric, as it does not require usage of water or chemicals.

“The mechanically recycled TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers are ideal for denim,” said the Product Development Team at Canatiba. “Unlike cotton, the new fabric retains its characteristics in relation to virgin fibers, while maintaining the length, resistance and all the physical properties, as well as being super soft to touch. It comes from a completely clean and sustainable process that does not involve water or chemical consumption. In Brazil, mechanically recycled lyocell fibers have a strong potential to scale among large brands and department stores.”

Enabling endless possibilities for sustainable denim

Fabrics produced using mechanically recycled TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers feature a “close-to-cotton” aesthetics while retaining the core features of TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers, like breathability, smooth drape, gentle on skin and long-lasting comfort.

“We believe that the future of the textile industry depends on sustainability and circularity, which can also guarantee the survival of denim,” said José Antonio Mazorra, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Textil Santanderina. “The awareness of reducing environmental impact within our sector is growing, especially with the industry trends of circular economy and sustainable production practices. I expect that innovation and technological improvements around circularity, including phases of collection, selection and recycling, will result in a greater need for mechanically recycled cellulosic fibers.”

The fibers are also identifiable in end products, ensuring traceability and transparency of production processes. With the ability to be traced back to their sources, the use of mechanically recycled TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers can be documented and verified, ensuring greater accountability and transparency in the supply chain.


TENCEL™ is the flagship brand under The Lenzing Group that covers textile specialty product fiber offerings. Since 1992, the TENCEL™ brand has been driving the evolution of fiber solutions for the apparel and home textile segments through several industry-first innovations and environmentally responsible production processes. Product brands under TENCEL™ include TENCEL™ Active, TENCEL™ Denim, TENCEL™ Home, TENCEL™ Intimate, TENCEL™ Luxe and TENCEL™ for Footwear.

Featuring botanic origin and biodegradable quality, TENCEL™ branded modal and lyocell fibers are also gentle on skin with smooth, long-lasting softness, color vibrancy and color retention features. TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers are versatile and can be combined with a wide range of textile fibers to enhance the aesthetics and functionality of fabrics. Through moisture management, TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers can also absorb moisture efficiently. Offering endless design possibilities, TENCEL™ Modal fibers can be blended with other fibers and processed using conventional machinery, significantly improving the softness and comfort of fabrics.

Fibers and filaments used under the TENCEL™ brand are derived from certified and controlled sources following the stringent guidelines of the Lenzing Wood and Pulp Policy. They are produced via environmentally responsible production processes and are compostable and biodegradable, thus can fully revert back to nature. They are designated by the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) BioPreferred® Program. TENCEL™ Luxe is registered by The Vegan Society.

About the Lenzing Group

The Lenzing Group stands for ecologically responsible production of specialty fibers made from the renewable raw material wood. As an innovation leader, Lenzing is a partner of global textile and nonwoven manufacturers and drives many new technological developments.

The Lenzing Group’s high-quality fibers form the basis for a variety of textile applications ranging from elegant ladies clothing to versatile denims and high-performance sports clothing. Due to their consistent high quality, their biodegradability and compostability Lenzing fibers are also highly suitable for hygiene products and agricultural applications.

The business model of the Lenzing Group goes far beyond that of a traditional fiber producer. Together with its customers and partners, Lenzing develops innovative products along the value chain, creating added value for consumers. The Lenzing Group strives for the efficient utilization and processing of all raw materials and offers solutions to help redirect the textile sector towards a closed-loop economy. In order to reduce the speed of global warming and to accomplish the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement and the “Green Deal” of the EU Commission, Lenzing has a clear vision: namely to make a zero-carbon future come true.

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