Take-back and Ecodesign

The importance of take-back in circular design

Circular design, also known as the circular economy or cradle-to-cradle design, aims to eliminate waste and thus promote sustainability by keeping products and materials in a continuous loop. Unlike the linear 'take-make-dispose' model, where products are manufactured, used, and eventually discarded, circular design seeks endless reuse. This process faces challenges like material separation and regeneration. Regeneration refers to a material being infinitely reusable without quality loss. This presents a technological challenge since regular recycling often results in quality degradation. Therefore, circular regeneration can be seen as the gold standard for recycling.

In a fully circular system, the importance of product take-back is evident. If products are not taken back, the ambition of a closed system is lost. In this case, a material ends up in the regular waste stream, which is not designed for circularity. Pursuing circularity in conventional waste processing is extremely challenging, if not impossible. Each material has its unique processing method, which means that all incoming materials must be perfectly separated to be regenerated separately. This is practically an impossible task.

By taking back products, we can ensure that waste remains separated. Responsibility can then be taken for a product's regeneration. Thus, regeneration is guaranteed. A product must be designed for regeneration, an aspect of ecodesign. All products from New Weave meet these criteria.

What is ecodesign? Sustainability as a starting point for New Weave

Ecodesign means that environmentally-focused product development is paramount. Since circularity is a basic requirement for all New Weave products, all our products are designed with the 'end in mind'. In other words, with a plan for the product's end of life, aiming for complete recycling without quality loss.

Sustainability is the starting point for every New Weave design. But what does sustainability mean to us? Sustainability is not a protected term, and we often see dubious sustainability claims. Many of these are formulated to appeal to consumers, but when scrutinized, they often turn out to be empty promises.

This article delves deeper into what sustainability means to New Weave and how we apply it to our products.

Sustainability as a buzzword, greenwashing

Feigning sustainability is popular; the number of companies promoting sustainability has surged in recent years. Not all companies are equally effective in their sustainability efforts, but the mere fact that sustainability has become a prominent theme shows its importance. This foundation for change will lead to positive results in the long run.

However, some companies promote sustainability when there is little or no evidence of it, known as greenwashing. Later in this article, we provide examples of questionable sustainability claims. The EU concluded after screening sustainability claims in the textile, clothing, and footwear sector that 39% of sustainability claims are incorrect or misleading (Link) . A misleading claim's consequence is that 'people buy products that are less sustainable than they think since claims are made about certain textile product features that do not have significant environmental benefits in reality.'

Examples of vague or misleading sustainability claims:

SustainableWithout a clear description, sustainability is a hollow claim.

RecyclableIn theory, it's (partly) recyclable, but who takes responsibility? The chance of recycling is small; the degree of recyclability is unclear, and the responsibility for recycling is shifted to an undefined party.

Made from recycled materialIt's unclear how much recycled material is used and its origin. Deconstruction for end-of-life is not considered, so future recycling is not thought of. It also doesn't mention harmful substances.. A good example is recycled PET containing the heavy metal antimony.

Made from natural materialIt's unclear how much natural material is used and the impact of its extraction. Fur, for example, is also a natural material but not necessarily sustainable. This claim doesn't exclude harmful additives to these natural materials. Natural materials are generally circular since they can be biodegradable. However, if harmful additives are used, this potential is lost. In many cases, the product is even significantly harmful, for example, when certain dyes, coatings, or other treatments are used.

Sustainability for New Weave, a framework

New Weave uses a framework to assess product sustainability, in our case, textiles. It's worth noting that the product itself is not the only factor with an impact. For instance, delivery or housing have an impact but fall outside this framework.

New Weave assesses sustainability based on four aspects: raw material extraction, the production process, additives and the end-of-life plan . This last aspect plays a crucial role in circularity.

Read more about these criteria:

Raw material extraction

The first criterion is the process of extracting raw materials used in the product. An example of a negative effect is habitat destruction. Large areas of land are often affected when extracting raw materials, leading to the destruction or disturbance of ecosystems.

Other significant potential negative aspects include water or air pollution. But the treatment of animals and people involved in the extraction process is also essential factors in assessing sustainability.

The extraction of raw materials is the first process in the life cycle of a final product that generates an impact. Often this process takes place out of sight or knowledge of a consumer, making it challenging to assess.

The products of New Weave are made entirely of ECONYL®, a unique yarn manufactured entirely from waste. An EPD, which stands for 'European Product Declaration,' exists for this yarn. This document describes the environmental impact from extraction to the end of life in an accurate and standardized manner. The EPD of ECONYL ® .

Manufacturing process

The production process also impacts a product's sustainability. Considerations include water and energy use, waste generation, and responsible business policies towards employees and other stakeholders.

New Weave's carpets are intentionally produced in Europe, specifically in Belgium. This way, we have a clear view of working conditions that meet all European standards.

No water is used to produce New Weave's carpets. Also, a significant portion uses green energy. We are currently working on a detailed report.

In the production of New Weave's carpets, the waste concept is entirely eliminated. The carpets are made 100% of ECONYL®, which is entirely and infinitely recyclable. All the waste generated during the production process is part of the regeneration process.


Additives are substances added to change or improve a product's properties. Some additives may be essential for the production or quality of a product, while others are added only for aesthetic reasons.

The use of additives can be beneficial; however, they can also cause harmful side effects to the environment or human health. Effects can be caused during the production process or during the product's use.

Furthermore, additives can also have a (very) negative impact on the possibility of recycling or regeneration. When additives cannot be separated from the primary material, they can ensure that this material cannot be regenerated, or only partially. Materials where this problem arises are also called 'monstrous hybrids.' It thus loses its circular value. Also, residues often arise because the additives themselves are often not recyclable.

End-of-life plan

Circularity, in theory, is infinite reuse. Aligning the design with reuse is the first step in the design process. Several factors are essential, namely construction, material use, and the take-back and regeneration process.

Construction is crucial because an object needs to be made so that materials can be easily separated at the end of its life. It must be possible to dismantle an object. It might be impossible to separate materials, in which case a regenerable material might not get a new life. These forms of construction are also called 'monstrous hybrids.' An example of this is chip bags consisting of a plastic exterior and an aluminum interior.

The separated materials must then be suitable for recycling or, even better, regeneration. Hence, material use is crucial. Not every material can currently be deployed this way.

Additives, as previously described, can be harmful but can also hinder regeneration. If these additives cannot be separated, they can damage the effectiveness of regeneration or even render it worthless. Take, for example, wool, a perfectly biodegradable material, making it very suitable for circularity. However, if this wool is treated with bleaches, it becomes harmful to the environment during decay. Additives to materials are very common, have their value but can also be harmful in multiple ways. Avoiding the use of additives is often a huge challenge in circular design.

Once all these parts have been met, the regeneration process must naturally take place. There must be a clear plan for the end of life of an object, and responsibility must be taken for the take-back and regeneration or recycling process. This is also called EPR for 'Extended Producer Responsibility' or 'Extensive Producer Responsibility.'

New Weave

New Weave aims to take the concepts in this article into account as much as possible when designing products. Our first Circular 1 collection is made of 100% ECONYL®, a unique material that is not only entirely made of regenerated nylon but is also infinitely regenerable without loss of quality.

By combining this material with the innovation of a modern weaving technique, we have eliminated the need for additives that hinder regeneration. The result is a carpet that not only consists of entirely regenerated material but can also be regenerated infinitely itself. We take back our products at the end of life to guarantee this regeneration.