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Recycled Italian Zero Impact Wool

Cardato Regenerated CO2 Neutral Brand process for creating “zero impact wool” recycled textiles

This article introduces the Cardato Regenerated CO2 Neutral Brand process for creating “zero impact wool” recycled textiles. The textiles are produced in Italy’s main textile manufacturing city of Prato in Tuscany. Because during the textile production process, Cardato Regenerated CO2 Neutral Brand eliminates the carbon footprint by using regenerated raw materials, the Prato Chamber of Commerce certifies the brand as Cardato Recycled. It is an eco-friendly product that is versatile, has a limited impact on the environment, and is comfortable to wear.

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Cardato Regenerated CO2 Neutral Brand

In verbal communication with Frank Monteferrante Ph.D., (retired Federal Senior Environmental Specialist), “A rise in atmospheric CO2 levels over pre-industrial levels through the burning of fossil fuels has become a major concern and is outlined in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report (October 2018). Human CO2 generating activities through the burning of fossil fuels are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0 degree C of global warming above pre-industrial levels. This temperature increase has resulted in rising sea levels, decreases in species diversity, disruption of the marine and terrestrial ecosystem, extreme weather events, and numerous other disruptions related to a warming planet. To this end, the process instituted by Cardato recycled textiles, through a CO2 reduction process along with purchasing carbon credits, will serve to reduce CO2 output and work to address the challenges of curbing climate change.”

Prato, Italy’s main textile manufacturing city is the capital of the Province of Prato in Tuscany. It is the third largest city in central Italy after Rome and Florence. The second largest city in Tuscany, Prato is known for the introduction of regenerated textiles that dates back to the mid-nineteenth century. Prato today is touted to be the largest wool producing and recycling center in the world. In order to address the environmental issues, the needs of the fashion market, and to develop a new textile production image, the Cardato Regenerated CO2 Neutral Brand was created. Ms. Silvia Gambi, from the Chamber of Commerce in Prato, in a Wool Academy Podcast, addresses how Prato became the center of recycled wool. She explains that through diligent and constant innovation, the Prato region has developed and is recognized as a center for sustainable recycled wool fibers. Additional information about the Cardato brand can be located on the homepage (http://www.cardato.it/en/en-home/).

The Prato Chamber of Commerce states that “eliminating the carbon print of the textile production process, while at the same time certifying the use of regenerated raw materials: this is the dual nature of the new brand, Cardato Regenerated CO2 Neutral.” It is an eco-friendly product that is versatile, has a limited impact on the environment, and is comfortable to wear. To carry the mark, “Cardato Regenerated CO2 Neutral Brand,” the textile must be produced in Prato with a minimum of sixty-five percent of recycled materials. In Prato, an estimated twenty-five thousand tons of rags annually are processed using the technique of carding, a system of processing fibers. The carded process uses short and heterogeneous pieces of yarns that are mixed together, creating diversified compositions.

The yarns are produced using virgin fibers, reused fibers, old clothing, and remnants of various lengths, both knit and woven.

The recycling process involves sorting the textile materials according to the color and the quality. Items such as linings, interlinings, and accessory parts must be removed from the used clothing, manually. Next step is carbonizing, a process that removes from the wool any vegetable impurities. Remnants are dry cleaned with hydrochloric acid and new fibers are soaked in a sulfuric acid solution. After scouring, the carbonized particles are removed by beating the treated fabrics. The final step is to render the remnants back to fibers by mechanically tearing and washing simultaneously and then drying.

Developing Zero Impact Wool

From fiber to the end product, all phases of production are done in Prato. Textile manufacturers in Prato’s ‘Green’ district are cognizant of environmental issues and concerns. In order to comply, state-of-the-art technology must be utilized, enabling the industrial district to use the Bisenzio River to recover water and also the features of the land. Using alternative energies, Prato has developed “zero impact wool” textile products. How is this accomplished? Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are greenhouse gases (GHG) and are closely linked to energy use. Some greenhouse gases such as CO2 (carbon dioxide), occur naturally and also through human processes. In order to calculate GHG emissions in manufacturing, one must identify all stationary sources of combustion (furnaces, engines, boilers, etc.); identify all mobile sources of combustion in transportation vehicles (cars, trucks, trains, etc.); identify process emissions (physical and chemical processes used in production), and identify all fugitive emissions (intentional and unintentional releases).

Once this data is collected, calculations using generic emission factors for each fuel type consumed (carbon content of the fuel), gives the final output of greenhouse gases. With the amount of GHG emissions calculated, the company can then buy enough carbon credits from an “eco-broker” in order to offset the amount of GHG’s emitted to bring the total GHG emissions to zero, i.e., to become “carbon neutral.”  The emission credits purchased from Prato’s Chamber of Commerce must correspond to production volume. One of the uses for the credits is to cover the costs of other eco-friendly programs. In this way, Cardato is achieving an eco-friendly manufacturing process by recycling wool and also reducing the carbon footprint.

One of the first textile companies to obtain the “Cardato Recycled Brand,” is Intespra Industria Tessuti Pratesi (Textile Industry Pratesi), a successful leading textile house in Prato since 1983. Using the minimum required sixty-five percent of pure virgin or reused wool fiber and Cardato certified the company creates “classic fabrics with a modern look, in different weights suitable for jackets and coats.” The company produces a wide range of yarn-dyed patterns and piece dyed fabrics with a broad breadth of colors. State-of-the-art technology allows the fabrics to be textured (printed, laminated bonded, flocked, coated, etc.) and infused with performance properties such as washable, water and wind resistant, antistatic and anti-pilling. According to an article published in the October 2017 issue of the Wearme Fashion Magazine written by Ms. Sara Volpi, “Intespra’s final products are sustainable and respect both the environment and animals while still guaranteeing high-quality standards despite being crafted with recycled wool.”


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