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Published May 19, 2017

Rag rugs from old sheets and towels from old jeans

Finlayson’s hugely popular recycling campaign has turned into a permanent operation. The idea was to repurpose sheets, a little-recycled product, as material for traditional rag rugs. The company also makes sheets from old jeans. These are great examples of upcycling discarded textiles into valuable products.


Finland produces approximately 71 million kg of textile waste each year. Cotton production requires huge volumes of water, chemicals and land. It is grown in countries that already suffer from droughts, and production often involves human rights issues. However, cotton is ideally suited as a material for bedding and towels.

Solution: rag rugs from old sheets and towels from old jeans

Consumers can take their old sheets to Finlayson stores in exchange for discount vouchers. The sheets are sorted according to their condition, and those that are suitable for rugs are transported to a processing plant located in Ostrobothnia. Stained and ripped sheets are handed over to Remeo for recycling. 30% of the towels’s material is recycled. Rag products made from sheets and towels made from jeans are sold in Finlayson’s stores and online. The solution helps to reduce the volume of textile waste: fewer materials need to be incinerated and all of the manufacturing stays in Finland.

Revenue logic and benefits to Finlayson

By accepting old sheets, Finlayson receives material for free, and the discount vouchers bring more customers to its stores. The company is seeking to profile itself as a responsible operator and proponent of domestic production, which is reflected in the marketing of the rag products. The textile recycling solutions have given Finlayson positive publicity, and it has also started turning old jeans into material for towels. The idea, which started as a one-off campaign, has become part of the company’s operating model. Finlayson is adding products made of recycled materials to its product range one at a time.

Benefits to customers

Consumers can recycle old sheets in a sensible and meaningful way. The volume of textile waste destined to be incinerated is reduced without affecting the quality of products sold to consumers. Finlayson’s Jesus sheets are a reliable example of value because the sheets have a 50 year long guarantee.


Finlayson in a nutshell

Main business: manufacturing and resale of textiles

Established: 1820

Net sales: €1-50 million

Launch of circular economy solution: rag rugs made from recycled material were launched as a campaign product in 2016 – thanks to their huge popularity, they have become a permanent part of the company’s product selection. 

Share of the circular economy solution of the total business: currently marginal, since the project was only launched in 2016

Employees: 10-250

Headquarters: Helsinki

Website: https://www.finlaysonshop.com/

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