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MYoMY & Waste2Wear

As a social enterprise, MYoMY wants the best for people, animals and the planet. For example, the lining of every MYoMY bag and their RPET collection is made of 100% recycled canvas, in collaboration with Waste2Wear: a company that converts plastic PET bottles into recycled yarns, which are then used to make fabrics.
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October 27, 2021
MYoMY bag

In 2007, Waste2Wear founder and CEO Monique Maissan identified a technique to make polyester from PET plastic bottles. Initially, not much was possible, and she had to do a lot of tests to get the yarns to a certain level so that really nice usable polyester fabrics could be made from it, (whether or not mixed with other fibers such as cotton.) The idea did not yet fit in with the zeitgeist at the time, but in 2021, all the more so. Now that more brands are realizing how polluting the clothing industry is, the demand for Monique’s fabrics is also increasing. Waste2Wear now recycles about fifteen million PET bottles a year. She has also developed new products from other plastic waste, such as RPP, a product made from plastic from old refrigerators and washing machines for shopping bags and packaging. How does Monique view sustainability? And how does she see the future of plastic?

MyoMY’s sustainable product manager, Elise Luring, presented Monique with a number of propositions and talked to her.

Statement 1: In x number of years there will be no more virgin plastic

(M) “Our motto and business model is that we hope that so much is recycled that there would be no more plastic bottles ending up in the environment and that we can close our company. But unfortunately for various reasons, mainly because of the price, recycling is not yet conducted on a large scale. The second point is that the demand for plastic is unfortunately increasing due to the increasing population growth. Also, in terms of polyester in garments, I do not expect the amount to decrease. Although I do notice that due to the hype that is now finally around recycling, the percentages of recycling are increasing. Sadlly, I think that the price difference with regular polyester, made of oil, will remain a pain point for a long time. We will of course keep pushing it.”

Statement 2: Circularity is the future

(M) “Yes! I agree one hundred percent. There is no other way; you have to look at the end result when you start developing something new. That will ultimately have to be the start of every designer, every product developer in every product group all over the world. Because if you don’t think about that, our world will become unlivable.”

Statement 3: Natural materials such as leather and cotton are more durable than synthetic materials such as plastic.

(M) “An incredible amount of assumptions are made: plastic is bad, polyester is bad, cotton is good. But if you compare the environmental impact and if you look at the production process and the end of the cycle, you often arrive at completely different insights.”

(E) “Yes, we see that too. Many materials are lumped together, but also natural materials. For example, organic cotton is in some ways better than regular cotton. Although there are also drawbacks. And that is of course also the case in the leather industry. We therefore work with various parties to make this as sustainable and transparent as possible. The strength lies with brands and manufacturers to get the best out of it.

(M) “I often start speeches that I give with the fairy tale of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’. That’s a story everyone knows. Because there is actually no piece of clothing that is 100% sustainable. Furthermore, everything you wear and everything you make has an impact on the environment in some way. It is up to us to make sure this is as small as possible.”

Statement 4: 100% sustainable does not exist

(M) “Yeah, that’s how I see it. It’s really about making as little negative impact on the environment as possible when you make a product, during its production and throughout the entire chain. You can make a big difference if you start with a recycled product, instead of a new product. You should then also look at where the product ends and what you can do to slow it down. That you first make another product out of it or recycle it again.; You want to prevent any of that waste from ending up in nature.”

(E) Are there any concessions you have to make to get to that point?

(M) “Rome was not built in a day. It’s a learning process. I think that if you invest seriously in research and in steps you take with your suppliers and your customers, then you are on the right track. That does indeed mean that you sometimes have to make concessions. For example, Waste2Wear has production in China and India and the products have to go somewhere. That’s where it all starts: what is the most efficient, what is the most environmentally friendly and how are you going to package it? And then you also have to make sure that your customer handles it with care. This way you sometimes come to a way that is better, but not yet 100% fantastic. But I am very positive about the future. I believe in science, collaborations and technologies. And I believe there is definitely a solution. We have to do it together and the youth are already the big driver behind changing the way we do things in the future.”

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Sven Bleekemolen

Sven Bleekemolen is a Dutch entrepreneur and textile engineer. He is a versatile executive with a broad skill set and experience in a global marketplace. Lived and worked in Europe, Indonesia, and Turkey. Solid expertise in management of start-up to mature fashion companies in competitive wholesale and retail markets.

In his role as director of several companies, Sven built strong knowledge of international wholesale, retail, B2B sales, production and brand development. He has a strategic and innovative mindset, always focused on business development. He has a record of identifying opportunities and leading diverse teams to surpass revenue goals.

Sven has a strong focus on sustainability and is excited to discover the possibilities that lie in Waste2Wear’s groundbreaking material and blockchain technologies. He is committed to creating a major contribution to the business performance of Waste2Wear along with the transition to a more circular economy for a better outcome of the world.

Hein Barnhoorn

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Ruma Kinger

Rena Jiang

Rena Jiang has over 20 years experience in the textile industry. Knowing how polluting the industry is, Rena is proud to be making a positive impact by doing the right thing with Waste2Wear.

Christophe Marze

Christophe Marze has over 15 years specializing in structuring and powering up businesses in Asia. As a French national, he has spent many years living and working in Germany and in China. Christophe is passionate about continuous improvement, sustainability and compliance which are from him the pillars of a healthy business drive.

Jeroen van der Wind

Jeroen van der Wind is an entrepreneur, specializing in international trade within the textile and promotional industries in South East Asia for over three decades. He was managing partner of The Cookie Company for many years, producing licensed kids apparel for several multinational customers. In combination with a healthy business drive, he is determined to help further the Waste2Wear mission of relieving the planet of the plastic problem to create a better world, especially for his four adult children.

Eduardo Garza Garcia

Eduardo Garza Garcia is a Mexican designer and entrepreneur specializing in sustainable solutions for plastics. He has been pivotal in innovations including the industry-first recycled polypropylene (RPP) from discarded domestic appliances; a unique RPET verification method (RA-3) proving the recycled plastic content in materials and the industry-first blockchain technology. Thanks to his innovations, Waste2Wear has won several prestigious environmental awards. Eduardo is truly an innovator in the world of recycled plastics constantly working for new ways to bring more transparency to the recycling industry.

Stefan Kleijkamp

Stefan Kleijkamp is a highly experienced Global Quality and Compliance Manager with over 15 years of experience in the industry. Originally from the Netherlands, Stefan has spent the last two decades working in Asia, with 17 of those years in China. He is fluent in Chinese and has worked with a wide range of product groups including textile, apparel, hard goods and plastics. Throughout his career, Stefan has held positions in quality and compliance management for both large and medium sized companies, as well as in purchasing and logistics. His extensive experience has given him a deep understanding of the challenges and issues facing the industry, particularly in relation to traceability of recycled materials such as textile, cotton and polyester. With his expertise in quality and compliance, Stefan is dedicated to ensuring that the products and services provided by Waste2Wear meet the highest standards in quality, sustainability and environmental responsibility.

Monique Maissan

Monique Maissan is a Dutch entrepreneur and textile engineer specializing in sustainable solutions for the industry. As CEO and founder of Waste2Wear, she leads a committed team in creating products and services for a better future. Her vision has driven the company to produce fabrics and products made from recycled plastic bottles (RPET) and recycled polypropylene (RPP) plus award winning blockchain and RPET verification test RA-3.

Monique has won several industry awards, most recently:

Finalist of “Future Leader” World Sustainability Awards 2022;
“Outstanding Achiever” of Global Green Economic Forum, Women Eco Game Changer Awards 2022;
“Woman Leader in Plastic Recycling” Plastic Recycling Conference Asia** 2022;
“The Sustainable Entrepreneur of the Year” of Entrepreneurs’ Organization*** 2021.

She is constantly on the lookout for new and better ways to recycle more plastic. Monique’s drive comes from her determination to do her part to leave this world in a better place for her two adult children and all of the next generation