Read in 1 min


It takes up to 7,000 litres of fresh water to grow cotton for just one pair of jeans. And the demand for cotton is increasing – but it’s a limited resource. At the same time, tons of textiles are thrown away every day and end up as landfill. What if cotton could be recycled without any quality loss?

Winner 2016

The innovation in a nutshell

Conversion of waste-cotton into new textile.

More in detail

Cotton is one of our most loved textiles. But producing 1 kilo of cotton requires 10,000 litres of water. In recent years, production of this material has decreased while the demand has increased. Some studies predict demand will exceed supply by 20 million tons annually by 2030.

Finnish team Ioncell, based at Aalto University in Helsinki, developed a technology that turns used textiles, pulp – or even old newspapers – into new textile fibers. The process is sustainable and without harmful chemicals. The result are fibers that are even better than pure cotton fibers, the recycled fibers are strong, soft and shiny.

“The award gave us a broader and more international audience and made our technology more tangible. This also motivated our previous partners to stay dedicated to us, as well as new partners to join the development.”

Michael Hummel

Team members: Ali Harlin, Michael Hummel, Ilkka Kilpeläinen, Pirjo Kääriäinen, Herbert Sixta and Marjaana Tanttu
Country: Finland