Diesel Teams Up With Tunisian Suppliers On UN-Backed Cotton Upcycling Project

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In a step towards circularity, the Italian brand will work with its Tunisian suppliers to recycle fabric scraps, some of which could be used to create new garments.

Diesel is upcycling cotton scraps with its Tunisian suppliers in a United Nations-backed project it hopes will become a reference for the fashion industry’s circularity ambitions.  The pilot cotton recycling project between Diesel, its parent company OTB Group, Tunisian suppliers and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), aims to make it easier to better identify various categories of scrap, and start a mechanical recycling process for fabrics made largely or entirely from cotton.

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The textile industry in Tunisia produces 31,000 tonnes of waste, 55% of which is classified as scrap, according to a study from SwitchMed, an EU-funded programme implemented by UNIDO, which seeks to speed up the shift towards circular business models in the southern Mediterranean.

High-quality cotton scrap will be used to make new garments, while the rest will be available for other end users. Textile recycling, particularly for cotton, has historically been challenging because of the lack of investment in developing the technology required to separate mixed fibres. In a statement, OTB Group said the new initiative would “ensure the value of raw material is kept high throughout the local supply chain”.

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The project will be developed in the second half of this year and throughout 2023, and is supported by the Tunisian government and Tunisian Textile and Clothing Federation.

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