Closing the loop

The notion of closed loop recycling was extended and popularised by the book Cradle-to-Cradle in 2002 by McDonough and Braungart.


It presents their vision of a world where all manufacturing materials are either natural or synthetic (biological or technical) and are kept apart in two closed loops.


The biological loop contains material which can be safely composted at end-of-life. The technical loop contains synthetic material which can be closed-loop recycled (e.g. plastics re-polymerised to be extruded as new plastics with no loss in quality). In this way, waste becomes food.


An example of closed loop recycling is Patagonia’s partnership with Teijin textiles to turn polyester fleece jackets back into virgin-quality fibre.


Looolo cushion company uses the biodegradable Climatex fabric developed by McDonough and Braungart.



Can garments be designed to disassemble for closed loop recycling?

Can the fibre be composted safely (biological nutrients reclaimed) or synthetic fibres be respun into virgin-quality fibre (technical nutrients reclaimed)?

Can the garment be monomaterial?


Click here for further reading on closing the loop.