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Green jailers thanks to Utexbel

Belgian manufacturer Utexbel, specialized in protective clothing, among other things, supplies the new uniforms for the Belgian guards. To this end, Utexbel has entered into a partnership with Lenzing (Austria), manufacturer of Tencel. The new uniforms are produced with recycled textiles. Utexbel uses Lenzing’s Refibra technology for this. Cotton remnants mixed with wood pulp form the raw material for clothing production. The result is new Tencel Lyocell fibres. This technology makes it possible to trace the origin of the fibers at any time and in this way to deliver a completely transparent end product. By using these fibers it is possible for Utexbel to make both durable and comfortable clothing.

Lyocell is an artificial fiber on a natural basis. The raw material for this fiber is wood pulp, just like for viscose or rayon, while it is also spun via the wet spinning process. The characteristic difference is in the dissolution of the wood fibres. This is not an environmentally friendly process for viscose. Sodium hydroxide, carbon disulfide and sulfuric acid are used and harmful by-products are produced. Carbon disulphide is harmful to health and highly flammable.

These drawbacks have been overcome in lyocell by using a new solvent (N-methylmorpholine-N-oxide) and by modifying the process in such a way as to create a closed cycle in which the solvent is recovered.

The properties of the fiber are generally similar to those of viscose, but the wet strength is better and the fiber wrinkles less. Lyocell is marketed under the brand name Tencel by the Austrian company Lenzing.