While many textile companies are just beginning their journey to sustainability, Lauffenmühle has already arrived, with not one, but several products that are Cradle to Cradle Certified™: infinito® yarns and reworx® textiles as well as the infinito® toolkit at the SILVER level, which were both certified in 2013, and reworx® staple fiber textiles at the GOLD level, which was certified in 2016.
Lauffenmühle didn’t stop there. To produce clothing from the reworx® fabrics and ensure the high level of responsibility that certification indicates, the company determined that the thread, buttons, elastic bands and other materials that make up a finished garment had to be certified too. So they manufactured a whole kit that includes those items, and the infinito® toolkit was born—the first collection of accessories of its kind on the market. Combining the toolkit with the textiles allows for all sorts of workwear for various industries to be completely made from Cradle to Cradle Certified components.
"Sustainability is firmly rooted in our corporate strategy. We are now capable of supplying the textile industry with Cradle to Cradle Certified yarns and fabrics that provide such an excellent technical performance that you can use them for industrially washable work clothes as well as for many other complex textile applications. This amounts to nothing short of a small textile revolution,” says Volker Steidel, Managing Director of Lauffenmühle.
Lauffenmühle’s partner, Bierbaum Proenen, has developed and produced a collection for hospital and healthcare workers made from the reworx® fabric and the infinito® accessory kit. Other companies, including Alfredo Grassi, Karl Diekhoff GmbH and Sarco, have followed suit and now produce a variety of uniforms—for lab workers, nurses, doctors and other professionals—made from reworx®, that have since been certified too. But it’s not just workwear, there are other applications for the smart, durable textile: Rowa Pure Nature Mattresses are utilizing the fabric for mattresses.
Because they are leaders in their sector, Lauffenmühle has received plenty of awards, including Cradle to Cradle Innovator Award for Product Design and Leadership in 2015 and the ITMA Future Materials Award in 2014.
"Lauffenmühle, with over 180 years of experience, is a lighthouse for both the textile industry and consumers by closing the loop for biodegradable industrial products," says Steidel.
All Lauffenmühle’s products are manufactured in a fully integrated facility in Germany at two locations in the High-Rhine region: Lauchringen and Lörrach, so they can precisely track each stage of their materials’ lifecycle, starting with raw materials, chemicals and dyes that are biologically safe. infinito® is a biodegradable polymer derived from oil which is blended with Tencel®, to make reworx® fabrics: The Terra fabrics are a 50/50 infinito® and Tencel® blend, and the Cycle fabrics are a 65/35 blend.
reworx® clothing is designed to be tough and durable, so it can hold up to industrial laundering, and has high abrasion and pilling resistance. At end-of-use, it continues its circular journey—rather than being landfilled, the biodegradable material can be taken to a commercial composter and turned into soil to be returned to the earth without leaving any traces of harmful substances.