Cradle to Cradle® Textiles and fashion

After use, textiles are mostly disposed of in used clothes collections or household waste. This means that after a few cycles of reuse, they either land in the waste incineration plant, on a landfill site or as waste in our environment. Less than 1% of textiles are currently recycled into textiles again. Valuable raw materials are lost.

Energy-intensive refining processes release chemicals during production, polluting our oceans, air and soil. During their use phase, microfibres are released, which turn into microplastic in domestic waters and accumulate in the soil. Utilizing 60% synthetic fibres, the textile industry is the third largest processor of plastics, outpaced only by the construction sector and the packaging industry.

In times of fierce climate protection debates and an increased awareness of the shortage of resources, the textile industry has become a target of criticism. The supply chains focusing on fast fashion continue to drive forward this negative trend, thus continuing to play a persistent role in the problematic raw material and climate situation.

Re-Think: Cradle to Cradle® Textiles as part of the solution

Cradle to Cradle® textiles consist of 100% environmentally friendly materials and substances, which alongside fashion and technical aspects also consider regeneration during the product development phase. This is the only way to ensure that raw materials can be recovered and health-friendly materials can be managed throughout the cycle. During production, use and afterwards, Cradle to Cradle® textiles are therefore healthy for both humans and the environment.


Where is the difference to normal textiles?

Consumers see a fashionable garment they would like to purchase. EPEA sees, thanks to the constituent transparency achieved in a Cradle to Cradle® project, up to 200 different materials and constituents including fibres, dyes, chemical finishing agents and pigments.

Cradle to Cradle® shapes nutrient cycles from the very beginning so that the materials and chemicals used are favourable for the technical or biological cycle. In doing so, an innovation process is initiated with the goal of producing eco-effective textiles.

Textiles made from natural raw materials such as cotton, viscose, silk and linen should be introduced to a biological cycle as nutrients after use. To achieve this, it is not only necessary to select the right materials but also to define all textile chemicals applied (dyes and inks, performance and process chemicals) for biological processes.

„Sustainability and circularity starts with material identity “

Synthetic materials like polyester or polyamide should be optimised for reuse as raw material in a technical cycle. This means that maximum regeneration is ensured. If it is also ensured that the abrasion of these textiles is not released in waste water or into the environment, resources can be optimally regenerated in combination with a digital take-back system.

How does EPEA support the implementation of Cradle to Cradle® in textiles?

We act as innovation partner and knowledge trustee on a global scale with all players of the textile supply chain: our partners include brands, retailers, manufacturers of chemicals and accessories. We support companies with global supply chains in the implementation of Cradle to Cradle® at product and company level: from the optimisation of individual components to the development of a take-back system and service concepts.


  • Product related material and chemical evaluation
  • Design for Disassembly
  • C2C Certified™ Certification
  • Complete transparency of all ingredients
  • Development of take-back systems

EPEA has comprehensive expertise in the areas of material composition, dyes and performance chemicals for textiles and uses this know-how for the optimisation of products with regard to material safety and circularity. When designing and implementing C2C textiles, every single constituent is therefore examined for compatibility with the environment and health. Take a look at our project with Lidl!

What added value do Cradle to Cradle® textiles offer?

Cradle to Cradle ® textiles can be reused as nutrients in a cycle, are manufactured using renewable energies and under favourable social conditions. This reduces the environmental impact, creates social added value and makes each of us part of the solution. Together, we can achieve:

Circular and sustainable products

Transparent supply chains

A positive footprint