Textile Exchange, which administers the new Global Recycle Standard, has introduced what it says is a “minor but important” change in GRS version 2.1, according to the April/May 2012 issue of Ecotextile News. (If you’re wondering what the Global Recycle Standard is all about, please see our blog post on the subject: click here .)
The new change removes the allowance for the use of pre-industrial waste. The Version 2.1 will only recognize pre-consumer and post-consumer waste. This change was made because the Textile Exchange has determined that pre-industrial waste does not meet the Federal Trade Commission requirement for recycled input – which is that in order to be considered a recycled input, it must have been diverted from the waste stream. An example of such pre-industrial waste that does not meet the criteria for being diverted from the waste stream is that of short cotton fibers which fall out of cotton during the spinning process; the fibers are scooped up and re-introduced into the spinning process. In terms of polyester, an example would be that of a manufacturer collecting plastic pellets that have spilled onto the manufacturing floor, washing them and then feeding them directly back into the same manufacturing process without reprocessing.
Both of these examples are considered an efficient manufacturing procedure and standard industry practice, not recycling.
Interpreting these pre-consumer recycled content claims can get very specific and technical. Underwriters Laboratory has published a handy White Paper entitled “Interpreting Pre-Consumer Recycled Content Claims: Philosophy and Guidance on Environmental Claims for Pre-Consumer Recycled Materials”.(1)
The new GRS standard becomes effective June 1, 2012. All companies being newly certified to the GRS will be required to use the new GRS v.2.1, while companies with existing GRS v2 certification will be able to maintain their current status until the end of the validity date of their certification.
Textile Exchange is currently working on Version 3 of the GRS, and they say it will be more stringent than the current version, with further refining of definitions for inputs that can be claimed as recycled input and additional requirements for chemical inputs.