FROM TEXTILE WASTE
INTO CIRCULAR PRODUCTS
New life for worn-out clothes and industrial waste:
the project of the Italian start-up Nazena
Transforming the world of fashion and packaging by making them sustainable. This is the vision of Nazena, the Vicenza-based start-up founded in April 2019 by Giulia De Rossi. It was during a trip in Japan that Giulia decided to give up a permanent position in a manufacturing company to create her sustainable brand. “Is it possible to reduce the pollution caused by the fashion and packaging industry?” she asked herself. “Why not?”, she replied, and this is precisely the meaning of the Japanese word Nazena.
In recent years, the world of fast fashion has led to a market based on the production of increasingly large quantities of low-quality garments. As a result, fashion has become one of the most polluting industries in the world, accounting for a quarter of global CO2 emissions.
Why? What happens to production waste? And what about the old clothes we get rid of?
Every year, 85% of industrial textile waste goes to landfills or incinerators: 78 million tonnes. And to make matters worse, each of us throws away an average of 34 kg of clothes.
Fashion companies still have few recycling practices in place, but more and more brands are trying to implement sustainable solutions.
This is also because, in response to the serious global emergency, institutions are requiring manufacturing companies to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 (see the EU Green Deal).
What about packaging? The new EU action plan COM(2020) 98 final on the circular economy aims to make all packaging reusable or recyclable by 2030, considering it the biggest contributor to plastic waste.
This is why Nazena was born, aiming to disrupt the fashion and packaging industries by adopting a circular economy system.
How? By recovering post-industrial and post-consumption textile waste and turning it into new products, in a logic of upcycling. Thanks to a patented process, Nazena is able to obtain a material, also patented, that is resistant and can assume different shapes according to the customer’s preferences.
The recovered waste, which can be made of natural fibres such as cotton, wool, viscose and silk, but also synthetic fibres such as polyester, nylon and elastomer, is mainly used to produce packaging, retail fittings, design items and acoustic panels.
Nazena designs, for example, packaging items that take on a second function once the first is completed. Such as wine boxes, which can be easily assembled by the consumer to become a serving tray or a finely designed lamp. In the case of products for which it is difficult to find a second use, instead, there is a take-back programme: they are taken back and processed to be transformed into new and always eco-friendly items. By doing so, the start-up is able to extend the life of goods that are usually intended for a very short cycle of use, such as packaging.
Nazena’s goal is to collect 250 tonnes of textile waste by 2025. If we consider that for every kg of recycled fabric we save (i.e. we don’t emit) 4kg of CO2, equivalent to 4 hot showers, you can imagine how much breathing space we would give to our planet. To give you a better idea: the equivalent of the energy consumed by an average house for 74 years.
Since the problem is global, Nazena addresses the textile and clothing industry as well as shops and consumers. To raise awareness across the board and achieve change throughout the supply chain.
It offers companies the opportunity to recover their waste and turn it into new products, saving on disposal costs and reducing their environmental impact, while also benefiting their image. But their waste material can also be used to meet the needs of retail shops, turning it into customised furniture and packaging solutions.
Awards and prizes
First Prize Startup Euregio Adventure X 2019
Second Prize D2T Start Cup 2019
Participation in Bits and Pretzels 2019 in Munich
Participation in the ICE Agency Global Start Up Program 2020