With the Eeden process, old textiles made of cotton or other cellulosic fibers can be converted into pulp, which serves as a resource for new fibers such as viscose or lyocell. This process is called upcycling: a high-quality product is created from an inferior starting material, an S-UBG spokesman informed. “Currently, old clothes that cannot be used as second-hand goods often end up abroad, where they are often improperly dumped in nature or burned. Basically, recycling only takes place by down-cycling textiles into inferior products such as cleaning rags or insulating material. We want to keep the material in a cycle and thus serve the growing demand for high-quality cellulose products,” explained Steffen Gerlach and Reiner Mantsch, the founders of Eeden.
Compared to other upcycling processes, Eeden’s technology is more environmentally friendly and at the same time more cost-efficient. It manages with a significantly reduced use of chemicals and reduces by-products such as salt loads in the manufacturing process. Since the process also tolerates a higher proportion of foreign fibers compared to the competition, textiles with higher admixtures of polyester fibers, for example, are also recyclable in the future, according to the spokesman.
The market potential for the start-up is high: With well over 20 million tons per year, the clothing and fashion industry, Eeden’s core market, accounts for around 60 percent of the total demand for cotton and cellulose fibers. “The demand for recycled fibers is already significantly higher than the corresponding supply. Constantly growing textile production, new legislation and trends in regional sourcing and sustainability ensure that the demand for Eeden products will continue to rise in the future,” said Björn Lang from TechVision fund management.