Trash-2-Cash Master Case: Denim NAture Jeans

Paper author Simone Haslinger explains the Ioncell-F fibre technology to partners at the beginning of the Trasn-2-Cash project

As we wrap up the Trash-2-Cash project the results of our research will be exhibited for the very first time at Dutch Design Week 2018, opening this week. As a little teaser for the show we’re revealing each of the 6 Master Case ‘stories’ and prototype products that we’ve developed. Next up: Denim NAture Jeans.

Master Case summary

Polyester-Cotton blends are the most common materials used in clothing. Elastane, added for the manufacture of stretchy jeans, seriously disrupts textile waste sorting and recycling. Denim NAture Jeans are made from yarn that is both recycled and recyclable. Trash-2-Cash researchers have replaced the troublesome elastane with stretchy, recycled polyester, and used an innovative elastic weave structure, ensuring that the comfort and performance of the garment is maintained.


The challenge

To produce a high-performance fabric, manufacturers often blend comfortable cotton with hardwearing polyester. Poly-cotton is the most common material composition in clothing, used in jeans, shirts, t-shirts and uniforms. To make jeans stretchy elastane is added which, Trash-2-Cash researchers confirmed, cannot be detected by textile sorting technologies and pollutes the fibre regeneration process. 

For the Denim NAture Jeans, Trash-2-Cash designers wanted a fabric that was not only made from waste textiles but also fully recyclable at the end of its useful life. Yet they didn’t want to compromise on comfort or performance. That meant that researchers not only needed to find a way of regenerating the textile waste into new fibres but also find something stretchy to replace elastane. 


The innovation

Trash-2-Cash fibre scientists have found a new, sustainable method for separating polyester and cotton so that they can be used again in new yarns for new clothes. Some of that polyester can also be made into a stretchy alternative to elastane, meaning that the Denim NAture Jeans are made from waste materials but are also recyclable when they are no longer useful.  To prolong their useful life these jeans would be sold with a patch repair kit and free end-of-life collection to ensure that the material is recovered and recycled.

Trash-2-Cash? About the project

As we all know, one resource that’s becoming more abundant is waste. The idea of recycling textile waste has been popular for decades, but current mechanical methods give poor quality fabrics suitable only for industrial applications, like insulation, and the upcycling of pre-consumer textile waste into products is impossible to scale. 

Trash-2-Cash (T2C) proposes a new model where textile waste is regenerated chemically - resulting in new plastics and textiles that are the same quality as new materials, to make products that are industrially replicable and infinitely recyclable.

Come to our showcase at Klokgebouw during Dutch Design Week 2018 and decide for yourselves whether we have been able to make trash in to cash!


The consortium:

Academic and industry designers have been collaborating with scientists and engineers over the last three years to produce these new materials from textile waste. It’s a project that is as much about the way in which these people collaborate as what they have produced together. 

The 18 partners from 10 countries are showing six brand new material prototypes comprised of new, recycled and recyclable apparel and automotive materials and concepts. We are also sharing a new way of working – Design-Driven Material Innovation (DDMI) – outlining how science, design and industry can input into the process from beginning to end.

Trash-2-Cash is a collaboration of the following organisations:

-      Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Finland

-      IK4-CIDETEC Technology Centre, IK4 Research Alliance, Spain

-      The Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Denmark

-      Grado Zero Innovation (GZI), Italy

-      MAIER, Spain

-      Material ConneXion Italia Srl, Italy

-      Reima, Finland

-      RISE Research Institutes of Sweden

-      Celanese, Italy

-      SOEX, Germany

-      SÖKTAŞ, Turkey

-      Swerea, IVF, Sweden (from October 1st2018, RISE,Sweden)

-      TEKO, Sweden

-      Tekstina, Slovenia

-      University of the Arts London (UAL), United Kingdom

-      VanBerlo,The Netherlands

-      VTT, Finland


About Dutch Design Week:

In October of each year, Dutch Design Week (DDW) takes place in Eindhoven. The biggest design event in Northern Europe presents work and ideas of more than 2600 designers to more than 335,000 visitors from home and abroad. In more than hundred locations across the city, DDW organises and facilitates exhibitions, lectures, prize ceremonies, networking events, debates and festivities.


Exhibition details:

Saturday 20th October – Sunday 28th October 2018

Opening hours: 11:00 – 18:00


Klokgebouw Cultuurhallen

Klokgebouw 50,

5617 AB Eindhoven,

The Netherlands


DDW ‘Basic’ ticket:

€16 ‘early bird’ ticket booked before 20th September from

€18 full price advance purchase tickets

€20 at the door


Students receive a 30% discount. Premium tickets are also available from the DDW website.