100% Waste: Pure Waste introduces Sustainability to Corporate Collections

Regina Henkel

Published on 06.02.2020

Just a few years ago a brand name like “Pure Waste” would have been hard to imagine for a fashion brand. But times have changed. Recycled rather than new materials are highly appreciated. The higher the percentage of recycled fibres in a product, the more attractive and innovative it becomes for consumers. Pure Waste from Helsinki has succeeded in making its collection from 100% recycled materials. All products consist of 60% recycled cotton, 40% are accounted for by recycled polyester from PET bottles. “We would rather have 100% recycled cotton,” says Anders Bengs, one of the founders of the brand, and goes on to explain: “but this not possible yet at this time because the durability of our products would be compromised and this would not be sustainable.”

Pure Waste produces a no-frills sportswear collection – all in white, black, grey and blue. “Other colours are hard to realise,” explains Bengs. After all, the input material is manufacturing waste produced when cutting fabrics in the textile industry. To guarantee sustained quality and colour Pure Waste confines itself to the colours produced most frequently in the industry. To be able to offer items in red the corresponding amount of waste has to be secured first.  

When Pure Waste was established in 2010, the team of founders had already acquired several years of experience with hats, which were made from fabric waste from furniture production under the Costo label, which continues to exist. The team also wanted to use recycled textiles for this but could not get hold of them. “We realised that this is a niche market,” says Bengs and adds “and that we are definitely not the only ones looking for recycled fibres.” So the task was to produce them ourselves. We ended up establishing a factory in India that purchases the waste from surrounding manufacturing sites, sorts it and processes it into yarns and fabrics.  

As of late Pure Waste has also moved a step closer to its next aim – i.e. also recycling post-consumer waste: For the first time, products with 20% post-consumer cotton and denim could be included in the collection. This percentage is to be increased gradually. After all, Pure Waste is not only interested in industrial waste. “When textiles will have to be sorted and collected separately in all of Europe from 2025, we will need solutions for what to do with this textile waste,” remarks Bengs and adds: “We need local solutions.” It makes no sense to transport local waste to India for recycling. This is why Pure Waste is cooperating with research partners to develop recycling solutions for local markets. In two years Bengs intends to present the first recycling line for textile post-consumer waste.

Who is interested in Pure Waste products? Bengs: “Brands wanting to be synonymous not only with a high-quality product but also with a particular attitude.”

Photos: Pure Waste