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Pure Waste manufactures clothes, yarns and fabrics from 100% recycled material: “We take into account the circular economy in all stages, from designing the product to taking the clothes back”

The raw materials that Pure Waste uses in its products would otherwise end up burned or in landfills. Founding shareholder Jukka Pesola wants to develop an ecosystem of responsible textile production, in which material and expertise are recycled in Finland.

Image: Petteri Tuukkanen, Berry Creative

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“Pure Waste was created to provide material to Costo, my previous company, which made clothing and accessories from surplus fabrics. We wanted to use material that was more ecological than the surplus fabrics from the textile industry. That is why we tried to manufacture fabrics of our own resource efficiently.

After a few years of research and development, we succeeded in making 100% recycled cotton denim. We wanted to focus fully on developing the fabric, not just as part of Costo.

In 2013, we founded Pure Waste, which manufactures yarns, fabrics and clothes from fully recycled material, such as cotton. We use raw material that would otherwise end up as textile waste. We collect and sort offcuts from the textile industry where it is created in India and manufacture the products there in a factory owned by one of our shareholders.

We also offer a service in which we take clothes back. When the customer no longer has a use for our product, they can return it to us. Last time, we used our removal items and returned products to make new yarn and fabric. However, the service of taking clothes back is still only in its early stages because we do not get so much material back. To be able to use production-scale machines to process the materials, we need several thousand kilograms of material in each colour and quality. You have to collect quite a few t-shirts to achieve that.

We take the circular economy into account at every stage of our clothes production, from collecting the raw materials to when the customer returns the used clothing to us to be reused. We aim to minimise waste at every stage of the process, not only on the cutting table. If our production creates waste, we try to find a new way of using it or a recycling method for each fraction.

It has been great to prove that responsible business is worthwhile. The goal may be far away and you have to adjust the direction every once in a while, but you must hold on to your values. That is what has taken us this far. In the beginning, we only wanted to manufacture yarn and fabric. However, we realised that it is difficult to market them. Everyone wanted finished products. We therefore built the production chain up to the finished product.

We are at the forefront of the circular economy, but we acknowledge that there is still a lot to do. We are looking for partners for areas in which we need more expertise, such as processing the blended materials of post-consumer textiles. We want to develop an ecosystem of responsible textile production for Finland so that there will be more manufacturers of recycled fibre in this country. A lot of high-quality development of fibres is already carried out here, but the domestic production infrastructure is missing.

In the future, we will conduct more research on material development and enhance the service of taking clothes back. We will pilot the clothing-as-a-service concept, which is also part of the circular economy.”

Project

The most interesting companies in the circular economy in Finland 2.1

The most interesting companies in the circular economy is a list compiled by Sitra to showcase Finland’s most inspiring examples of the circular economy. Sitra is using the list as a way to challenge Finnish companies to meet the changing needs of the world.

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