Der Spiegel, February 2021

 

Hamburg – The circular economy can solve many of the issues exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis. This was the conclusion reached in a background report published by the German weekly news magazine “Der Spiegel”. EPEA Switzerland clients also contribute to the trend.

The Zurich-based bank Vontobel has launched a Circular World Index that lists companies committed to recycling resources. The index has grown by 70 percent within the space of 12 months, according to an article in the 8/2021 edition of the German weekly news magazine “Der Spiegel”, which also explains how resource-friendly business operations are right on trend at the moment.

According to the authors, there is also a need for this. After all, the weight of all man-made objects is now as great as the weight of all organisms on planet Earth. And all of these objects must be disposed of properly after use. Recycling, that is to say re-using resources, is only partially suitable for this purpose, as up to this point too many resources have simply been lost in the process. The Cradle to Cradle approach outlined in the article published in “Der Spiegel” does, however, go further, describing how all components of a product should be fed back into the cycle: from the cradle to the cradle, so to speak.

The circular economy concept was developed by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. EPEA Switzerland is globally active for the implementation of this concept, consulting with firms that are keen to bring this waste of resources to an end in the process. And with great success. “Der Spiegel” also mentions a handful of companies to have been advised by EPEA Switzerland and certified according Cradle to Cradle Certified.

It is actually quite remarkable that Wolford is one such company named in the article. Because the circular economy principle is especially tricky to implement in the textiles industry. “Fibers have to be separated, which comes at the expense of quality. Mixed fabrics are difficult to separate. It takes a lot of effort to remove chemicals and colors”, the article in “Der Spiegel” explains. Yet Wolford managed precisely this with the help of EPEA Switzerland. Now, Wolford offers tights, leggings and jumpers that have all been produced in line with the Cradle to Cradle principle. As proof of this, Head of Research Andreas Röhrich buried seven jumpers in a glass pot, and these have since decomposed into humus.

Wolford has even collaborated with other EPEA Switzerland clients. In this regard, the company joined forces with Lauffenmühle, today as Inogema, for the development of artificial fibers that meet Cradle to Cradle requirements. The textile fibers manufactured by Aquafil from recycled nylon are likewise components of Wolford products and represent a flagship project for EPEA Switzerland. As new yarns are made from crude oil products, the CO2 pollution of Aquafil fibers is 90 percent lower than that of new products, as the article published in “Der Spiegel” explains.

With the volume of disposable packaging drastically rising during the coronavirus pandemic, these companies are now demonstrating ways in which humanity can still reach a “green zero” point in the future. This phrase was also the inspiration for the title of the article published in “Der Spiegel”.

View the article online @ Der Spiegel