Circ Raises US$ 30 Million To Scale Textile Recycling

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Danville, Virginia-based Circ is on a mission to recycle fashion waste back into textiles, over and over again. Specifically, the company recycles cotton, polyester and cotton-poly blends.

The company has announced a US$ 30 million Series B funding round, led by Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures, along with additional investment from Inditex, American textile manufacturer Milliken, and international investment group Lansdowne Partners.

“At Inditex, we are very excited to announce Circ as our first venture investment in a clean technology company,” said Óscar García Maceiras, CEO at Inditex, in a statement. “In partnership with Circ, we are committed to promoting the transformation of the entire fashion industry. We look forward to contributing our knowledge and corporate capabilities to Circ’s rapid success and achievement of industrial scale.”

The round is also being supported by previous investors including 8090 Partners, Alante Capital, Card Sound Capital, Circulate Capital, Envisioning Partners and Marubeni.

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The latest infusion of capital will help Circ complete several commercial and brand partnerships that are already underway, according to Circ CEO Peter Majeranowski. It’ll also help the company add to its staff count — Circ currently employs about 30 people and expects that number to climb to nearly 50.

Circ is also “beefing up” its engineering muscles because it wants to build bigger and better facilities. “If you look at some of the other chemical recyclers in space, we’re following their lead in the sense of doing all the detailed engineering work for larger scale equipment,” Majeranowski said.

With that in mind, Majeranowski said that while US$ 30 million is a lot of money, the work his company is doing is capital intensive. “I think when you look at what it’s going to take for the industry [to reach textile recycling at scale], it’s going to be billions and billions of dollars to do it, but we need to do it,” he added.

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In 2021, Circ has also partnered with Austria’s Andritz, a technology group providing plants, systems, equipment and services for various industries.

“We were looking for some partners that had testing facilities where we could try machines that would operate at a larger scale than what we were doing previously,” Majeranowski said, noting that Andritz felt like a good fit for such a collaboration. “At the end of the day, what we’re doing is recycling fibres, and they’ve been working with fibres for decades.”

Besides Circ, many other companies are scaling up textile recycling.

  • Renewcell, a Stockholm-based textile manufacturing company, has announced plans to open “the largest chemical textile recycling factory in the world”
  • Accelerating Circularity, a nonprofit, is on a mission to create new supply chains and business models that turn textile waste into mainstream raw materials;
  • Fashion designer Eileen Fisher is trying to help the fashion industry address its waste problem.
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