• Hilaturas Ferre recycles used jeans to transform them into thread

The textile industry is considered one of the most polluting and, also, one of those that generates the most consumption of water resources. However, if there is a garment that becomes the paradigm of these factors, that is, without a doubt, the jeans. No less than 3,000 liters of water are necessary for the production of a single piece or, what is the same, the same amount that a person drinks in four years.

Aware of this reality, the company Ferre Yarns, based in the Alicante municipality of Banyeres, has developed a system through which it recycles used jeans to transform them into thread with which to make clothes with the same characteristics. An achievement that meets all the requirements of the concepts of sustainability and circular economy.

Textiles have always had as an Achilles heel the high consumption of water, energy and chemical reagents that they have historically needed to make their articles, as well as the large amount of waste that they have been generating. In fact, it is considered the second most polluting industry in the world, only behind the oil sector, producing, according to the UN, 10% of carbon emissions and 20% of wastewater.

However, this situation is beginning to change, and, moreover, in a decisive way, thanks to a series of companies that are betting on new technologies, recycling and the use of all their waste. This is the case of Hilaturas Ferre, whose origins date back to the beginning of the last century, when in 1914 what was its embryo, Hijos de Antonio Ferre, was founded, a jute and other low-quality fiber factory. We had to wait until 1947 for the constitution of the current firm, when a second generation of the family, in the midst of the scarcity of materials of the complicated years of the Spanish postwar period, had the advanced vision of transforming textile waste into thread.

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“What was a business approach born out of necessity has finally become the company’s philosophy, which has been focused on recycling all its life”, highlights the current director, louis pita. And it is that Hilaturas Ferre has made environmental commitment its production philosophy, transforming the global supply chain to recover raw materials, reducing the use of water and chemical products, as well as CO2 emissions, and establishing alliances with brands, retailers and manufacturers who share the same philosophy.

bottle plastics

In this context, in 2006 the company devised a unique system for transforming textile waste, which also incorporates plastics from bottles, which are converted into recycled cotton threads. Production is between 5 and 6 million kilos of thread per year, and thanks to this method, 28,000 million liters of water are saved, as well as 2.1 million kilos of chemicals, including fertilizers that They are used in cotton cultivation.

This process gave name to the Recover brand, today in the hands of the North American investor Story 3, although still with the participation of Hilaturas Ferre. Now, Recover is in charge of converting the garments into fiber, and the Banyeres firm, of making the thread.

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Among the textile waste that is recycled, jeans stand out, which are precisely in the spotlight due to the amount of water resources that are necessary for their manufacture. According to a study carried out by the Polytechnic University of Madrid, between 2,130 and 3,078 liters of water are needed to produce a single piece, largely linked to cotton cultivation and also to the manufacturing process. According to Luis Pita, “with recycling we obtain threads to make more pants, or also for upholstery fabrics or cushions”. Another virtue is the reduction of chemical products. “We take advantage – he underlines – of the colors of the garments that we recycle, so there is no need to dye”.

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Hilaturas Ferre works for brands such as Inditex, Mango, H&M, Ikea or Calvin Klein. It invoices around 18 million euros per year and has 110 employees.

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