Fashion – Enter Ltd Wales: Redefining Welsh Wool and Recycled Textiles
July 2022: Since mid-February 2022 Fashion-Enter Ltd Wales in collaboration with Potter Group have been researching, investigating and trialling a novelle yarn that utilises recycled clothing and recycled plastic with natural, biodegradable Welsh wool.
Fashion-Enter Ltd Wales and Potter Group, the largest private waste management company in Wales, were given the green light by SMARTCymru to further research and create this novelle yarn with the support of the Welsh Government. Funding for the SMARTCymru project is provided by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Together they conducted a Feasibility Study into the creation of a closed loop textile recycling system to produce novel fibres for use in the production of new types of wool-blend yarns for manufacturing woven cloths for fashion apparel. These wool blend yarns are targeted so as to combine the traditional sustainable Welsh wool industry with modern sustainable recovered fibres to create both local sustainability and circular economy benefits through the entire supply chain.
The study included desktop research, field visits and trial test samples to identify the technical requirements, characteristics and commercial potential for the novelle fibres and yarns, both as products in themselves and with a view to quantifying the positive impact this could have on domestic supply chains, the reduction of clothing going to landfill, and CO2 emission.
In the last week of the project the team achieved a major breakthrough with the successful creation of this innovative mixed fibre. Initial responses to the developed sample from retailers have been extremely positive and the next step is to secure further funding so that this sustainable yarn can be thoroughly tested and developed for the commercial market.
Fashion-Enter Ltd CEO Jenny Holloway said: “The Novelle yarn programme has been one of the most exciting programmes we have worked on in the last 17-years! We have created a new yarn that has a minimum 50% Welsh Wool content combined with recycled PET and SNR (Synthetic Nylon Rummage from discarded clothing).
“We’re very appreciative to SMARTCymru who have co-funded this study and now we have two retailers that have a genuine desire and intent to use Welsh Wool in commercial production.
“With EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) this work on wool is vital – we need to look at our domestic resources and bring back wool production in Wales.”
Richard Carter, Business Development Manager at The Potter Group added: “The Potter Group has been a leader in industrial waste management for the last 30-years and sustainability has been at the epicentre of our work. One of the major advancements has been using industrial carpets and shredding them into canter carpet for race tracks. The founder, James, is a local Welshman who has always a strong ethos of supporting the local economy of which the sheep farming plays a central part.
“Working with Fashion-Enter Ltd, a local, social enterprise manufacturing ethically in Newtown has created many potential opportunities with wool. After just three months we have succeed in creating a Novelle yarn and now we need to drive this further to test for commercial use.”
Chris Probert, Innovation Specialist at Welsh Government said: “Seeing these two local companies from very different sectors come together to collaborate on such an interesting research project has been wonderful. Quantifying the potential for both positive environmental and economic outcomes is essential. Clearly identifying a technology pathway and defining a business model with truly circular characteristics are projects we seek to support”.
For a brief overview of the project so far please tap here for the PowerPoint presentation.