Milliken & Company Participates in Two US Accelerating Circularity Trials 

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Milliken trials with Accelerating Circularity

The US trials are designed to assist Accelerating Circularity in proving a functioning textile-to-textile circular supply chain that reduces textile waste. 

Milliken and Company’s textile business, based in Spartanburg, South Carolina, has announced its participation in two commercial textile-to-textile US product trials with Accelerating Circularity. 

Milliken will develop two separate garments – a polyester Polartec fleece and a cotton/polyester twill – that will be manufactured at scale in both trials. 

Here’s what is included in the trial 

The Polartec fleece trial will use chemically recycled textiles made possible by Gr3n Recycling while the cotton/polyester twill trial will feature a mechanical recycling process. Milliken will use Unifi fiber to develop and manufacture the fabrics used in both trials. 

Gr3n Recycling will use chemically recycled textiles in the Polartec fleece trial, while mechanical recycling will be used in the cotton/polyester twill trial. Milliken will develop and manufacture the fabrics used in both trials with Unifi fiber. 

Building on the success of its research, mapping, modeling, and linking of circular textile-to-textile systems, Accelerating Circularity is now entering its trial phase in the United States, involving the entire textile chain in the development of a fully functional textile-to-textile circular system. The Walmart Foundation contributed US$1.2 million to ensure the trials took place in January 2021. 

“At Milliken, our approach to sustainability is action-oriented and that’s why we joined Accelerating Circularity,” said Jeff Strahan, director of sustainability, compliance, and research at Milliken.  

“We knew they were addressing the challenge of circularity head-on rather than simply talking about possible solutions down the road. We have the operational capabilities and workforce innovation that make participating in these trials a great way for us to help reduce the environmental impact of the textile industry.” adds further. 

Milliken’s RPC is the largest privately-owned textile testing facility in the United States, and it will be critical in running the trials quickly and efficiently. 

“Milliken has been an invaluable partner and participant from the beginning of the formation of Accelerating Circularity,” said Karla Magruder, president and founder of the organization.  

“It is well integrated with the rest of the supply chain which is required to make circularity a reality. The company’s Rapid Prototype Centre (RPC) also gives it a competitive advantage in terms of being able to quickly run small process trials before scale-up and provide preliminary feedback on product quality, aesthetics, and consistency.” adds further. 

“Milliken’s RPC provides our organization with an invaluable tool – the ability to fail fast and adjust,” said Magruder. 

 “Typical production equipment requires hundreds of pounds of fiber that leads to thousands of yards of fabric and the risk profile is not advantageous to trying new things. Milliken’s RPC lets us process small amounts of material and provides the interested parties with the confidence these materials will work on true production equipment.” adds further. 

Milliken joined the Accelerating Circularity Steering Committee in 2021, a group of corporations that contribute strategy and advice to the US-based effort. Eastman, Gap Inc, Giotex, Gr3n, Lenzing, Nike, Target, VF Corp., and Unifi are among the current members. 

About Milliken   

Milliken & Company is a global manufacturing leader whose materials science focus delivers breakthroughs today. Milliken develops products that improve people’s lives and provide solutions for its customers and communities, from industry-leading molecules to sustainable innovations. The company leverages a shared sense of integrity and excellence to positively impact the world for generations, drawing on thousands of patents and a portfolio with applications across the textile, flooring, chemical, and healthcare industries. More information about Milliken’s inquisitive minds and inspired solutions can be found at milliken.com 

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