Recyclable Polyester Fabric: Returnity For All Eternity

Returnity is the perfect material for what is known as a closed loop production chain. This means it is part of a zero-waste supply process that completely reuses or composts all materials. Garments are collected and shredded into fibers after they have worn out and then transformed into new yarns via a process known as melt spinning. These new yarns are then woven into new Reurnity fabrics. The work wear can be recycled countless times without sacrifice to quality.


Returnity Fabric Upholstery: Source: ArchiexpoReturnity Fabric Upholstery: Source: Archiexpo


Backhausen textiles and the  Cradle-to-Cradle concept

Inspired by his daughter's question about how he was helping the environment aftre viewing An Inconvenient Truth, the 2006 documentary about global warming, Reinhard Backhausen, executive director of an innovative company bearing his name who was the first to intoduce both flame-retardant and three-dimensional pleated fabrics, began a campaign for environmental protection. Cradle-to-Cradle represents the company's attempt to convert to sustainable production in a way that is closely allied with nature.


Returnity Curtain Fabric: Source: ArchiexpoReturnity Curtain Fabric: Source: Archiexpo


Backhausen was the first manufacturer to apply the Cradle-to-Cradle principle to textiles made from the flame-resisitant Trevira CS polyester fabric. Since this initial success, the company has expanded its environmentally-friendly reach to include Returnity and other fabrics as well.  Considered a pioneer in high-quality recyclable, resource-friendly furniture material and decorative fabrics, the Cradle-to-Cradle concept is founded on a principle of eco-efficiency created by Hamburg-based professor of chemical engineering and former Greenpeace activist, Dr. Michael Baumgart.

How does Returnity work?

Returnity  has a residue-free life of its own and a cycle of usage that is never interupted. It is a strong and comfortable material  that can be easily adapted to many types of apparel, accessories and furnishings. Anyone who buys a Backhausen fabric receives a return pass, which allows for its recirculation and recycling after it has reached the end  of its usability.

The campaign has been running since 2009 and so far, no return passes have been collected. It is estimated that these fabrics "live" for four or five years before their first recycle begins. Operations for reuse are expected to expand into a world-wide network of recycling partners.

In Backhausen's own words: "The ideal scenario would be to transform the product straight away into a new textile, but there's too little material in the pot. Instead, the fabric is changed into granulate material. This is then transformed into an ew product, perhaps a garden chair."


Returnity Shoulder Bag: Source: GuidalibabaReturnity Shoulder Bag: Source: Guidalibaba


Dutch aWearness

Dutch aWearness is a young, innovative sustainable textile company with a focus on products that are eco-effective and designed to reuse endlessly. They  own the exclusive European license to utilize Returnity fabrics for work wear and fashion. Founded by Rien Otto in 2012 and guided by the principles of the circular economy, the company firmly believes that manufacturing is 80% the proess and 20% the product.

The future of Returnity and the Cradle-to-Cradle philosophy

Backhausen is dedicated to helping transform the textile industry for a greener future. Recycled products leave a minimum of waste and are kind to the environment. Cardle-to-Cradle manufacturing is his successful blueprint to save planet Earth and be an example for both his daughter and other manufacturers.

Closing thoughts on saving the environment:

Seen on a bumper sticker: 

Ignore the enviornment. It'll go away.

Some of the sites we link to are affiliates. We may earn a small commission if you use our links.