ImpactAlpha, November 16 — The growth of textile-recycling ventures in recent years has been fueled, in part, by a rapid increase in textile waste. Around 60% of purchased clothing end up in landfills within a year; less than 1% is recycled.
SuperCircle has raised $7 million to help fashion brands and retailers launch in-house recycling programs and offload bulk inventory. SuperCircle “allows brands to collect, sort and process pre-consumer and post-consumer apparel and footwear, while providing garment-level tracking and tracing through responsible end-of-life,” said CEO Chloe Songer.
Recycling programs with brands including UNIQLO, Reformation and Parachute have recycled over one million garments that otherwise would have gone to landfills.
SuperCircle’s pre-Series A round was co-led by Radicle Impact and Ulu Ventures, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based fund that invests in women, minorities, immigrants and other underrepresented founders.
“SuperCircle is the connective tissue that links consumers, retailers, logistic providers and recyclers, coordinating the entire process, end-to-end,” said Ulu Ventures’ Kathy Chen. “With tremendous buy-in from the retail industry, we now have the momentum to make circularity a reality.”
Other backers include Earthshot, BBG, Lyra and Blueprint Ventures.
Waste to value
Among the US ecosystem of textile-recycling startups is California’s Refiberd, which uses AI-based imaging to detect the composition of fiber and contaminants in textile waste; Circ, based in Danville, Va., breaks down old clothes to the raw materials from which they were made; LA-based Ambercycle converts end-of-life textile waste into premium fabric for reuse; and Seattle’s Evrnu claims it can disassemble clothing materials to create new garments without compromising for strength or quality.