Loop a Life


The Netherlands

Design from renewable, safe and recycled materials

This circular design strategy refers to the raw materials, fibres, fabrics & trims sourced for production, as well as the chemicals, water and energy inputs used in the processing stages.

The objective of this circular design strategy is to improve product safety, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prevent pollution and enable the optimal reuse and recycling of materials at end-of-use.

To apply this design strategy, designers can;

  • Prioritise and efficiently use raw materials that are ideally bio-based, renewable, and/or recycled.
  • Eliminate materials that contain hazardous substances and refrain from toxic and hazardous production processes such as
  • chemically intensive dyeing, laundering, sandblasting etc.

Design from renewable, safe and recycled materials

Loop a life

What circular challenge / opportunity is the case study trying to address?

Every year, 235,000 tons of clothing are discarded in the Netherlands, from which almost 70% of this ends up being incinerated.  The Company Brightloops was founded in the Netherlands with the aim of developing and producing recycled yarns from this waste.  In 2016 they founded the circular clothing and lifestyle brand Loop.a life that uses these yarns to create high quality high-quality and timeless knitted items such as sweaters, cardigans and scarves.

How does it work?

Brightloops was founded with the aim of developing and producing recycled yarns and products (clothing, accessories and interior textiles) as locally as possible in order to reduce this mountain of clothing waste. Loop.a life only uses post-consumer textiles that have been collected locally in the Netherlands. In order to do so, they have a strong partnership with one of the main sorters of Dutch material Wieland Textiles and Textiles2Textiles – who source their material from many collecting companies, such as the Salvation Army The Dutch Salvation Army collects used textiles from the different regions, and transports them to Wieland textiles. At the Wieland facility, non-rewearable wool, cotton,denim and acrylic are sorted out for the Loop.a life cycle. These fractions are then fine-sorted into 25 different colourways for subsequent mechanical recycling. Sorting according to colour allows Loop.a life to eliminate the need to bleach and overdye the resultant recycled fibres, thereby avoiding water and chemical usage in production. Until recently, this sorting according to fibre composition and colour was conducted by hand – a manual process, which is both time consuming, costly and more susceptible to inaccuracies. Since 2020, the process has been automomized through the use of the smart Fibersort machine, which can automatically sort post-consumer textiles using NIR-technology. 


With the help of social companies and volunteers, the sorted textiles are stripped of buttons, zippers and other haberdashery. A machine has now been developed to do this automatically. Textiles2Textiles is the company that owns the fibersort and cleaning machine. In particular, it is important that care labels are removed, since they are often made of synthetic materials and can be seen as specks in the final recycled yarns. Finally, the sorted textiles are transported to France, Italy, Portugal and Turkey to be mechanically recycled and blended with recycled PET, wood Lyocell or undyed recycled alpaca wool, before being  spun into new yarns and quality tested. The yarns are then knitted into fully fashioned garments and produced with circular knitting technique in fabrics in the Netherlands, ​Portugal and Turkey. This technique reduces industrial waste as the front, back and sleeves are knitted to shape and then stitched together. Brightloops are continually working to expand the input materials that they recycle, whilst also improving the quality of the recycled fibre output. They are conducting a large-scale research project to develop new yarns from the key waste streams of the Netherlands. Recently they are yielding good results producing finer count yarns, which are suitable for e.g. jersey products. 

Furthermore, Brightloops aim to not only develop circular products, but also to build circular supply chains that can benefit the industry as a whole. Towards that end, in September 2020, Bright.fiber Textiles was set up, as a spin-off of Brightloops. Bright.fiber Textiles will deliver fiber, yarns and fabrics. Brightfiber is the preferred customer of Textiles2Textiles. In 2020 they received a subsidy of more than € 1 million from the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment ​​for the purchase of a fiberization line with a capacity of 3 million kg per year. This new circular resource factory will be operational in 2023. The aim of this raw material factory is to turn the 5 largest post-consumer waste fractions from the local region, into new circular fibres, yarns and fabrics, which can be utilised by European brands, spinners, knitters and weaving companies.