ETSA interviews Jan Lamme as it welcomes Cibutex to its membership

Introduction: Cibutex is a wonderful and most recent addition to the ETSA's membership. Cibutex is a forward-thinking company whose aim is to pioneer textile-to-textile recycling and promote a circular economy. As such, ETSA's dedication and the dedication of ETSA members to sustainability and innovation in the textile services business is perfectly aligned with Cibutex's goals. We are eager to work with them on projects that promote change, exchange knowledge, and develop solutions. By working together, we can move the sector closer to a more sustainable future. To introduce Cibutex to the general ETSA membership, we did the following interview, with Jan Lamme, the CEO of Cibutex.

Image by Cibutex UAQuestion: Mr. Lamme, could you begin by giving us an overview of Cibutex? What are the core objectives of this organization, and how is it structured to meet these goals?

In 2020 Ralf Hellmann and I took part in a number of textile-to-textile recycling pilot projects. We noticed that for efficient recycling we needed larger volumes. Larger companies of our size could supply. We contacted other textile service companies to see if we could join forces in this respect. This was the first step that led to the foundation of Cibutex in 2022, at that moment an initiative of 5 companies: Blycolin, Edelweiss Groep, Nedlin, Dibella and Lamme Textile Management. Today we have around 30 members in our group. Our main objective is to change the industry of business textiles from a mainly linear to a circular business. Simply put: limit the use of natural resources needed for our products and reduce the amount of waste. We work on reaching this goal by facilitating textile-to-textile recycling, by stimulating innovative pilot projects and by creating awareness and a sense of urgency in the industry and in the national and international regulating bodies.

Question: What is the philosophy of Cibutex?

An important part of our philosophy is that we want to stay ahead of legislation. When people or companies start to act because of rules and regulations, this is usually a sign that they act because they 'have to'. Not because they 'want to'. We believe that the majority of players in our industry wants to be part of a positive change. They want to take their responsibility and look for ways to act accordingly. That is not always easy. It helps if you have a network of likeminded organizations. Cibutex plays that role: we connect companies, we organize collaborations, and we facilitate processes, like the collection and recycling of end-of-life textiles. We are very pragmatic: we are rooted in the reality of every

  aspect of the production, use and recycling of business textiles.  For us 'collaboration' is not just an abstract word, it is part of our everyday business.

Question: Please explain how Cibutex manages the collection and distribution of B2B post-consumer waste textiles to upcyclers. What logistical and operational challenges have you faced, and how have they been overcome?

As in any logistic ecosystem, the key is 'just in time' management. Connecting supply and demand. Supply comes from the textile service companies, where post-use textiles accumulate. Demand comes from the recycling facilities, where the textiles are treated mechanically and/or chemically. Adding to the complexity  is the fact that recyclers are in turn dependent on the demand from the textile production companies, like spinners and weavers. And in every step of the way we need to make sure that the color, material and composition of the post-use textiles match the next step. That is why we have set out to to build a digital platform where all shipments of post-use textiles are registered and monitored. This platform, CibuteXchange is currently in the first testing stage and once in operation, it will manage the shipments of textile for recycling. The data collected will increase traceability and give detailed reports - something that suppliers need to meet current and upcoming legislation such as EPR, CSRD and DPP (digital product passport).

Image by Cibutex UAQuestion: Cibutex aims to contribute significantly to environmental sustainability. Could you detail the specific United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that Cibutex targets and describe your progress towards these goals?

We commit to 4 SDGs:

SDG 9: industry, innovation and infrastructure
Cibutex works towards a circular textile industry. For that, we need to bring end-of-life textiles back into the production cycle. We also investigate what new textile products can be made from end-of-life textiles.

SDG 12: responsible consumption and production

In our case, SDG 12 is closely linked to SDG 9: responsible consumption and production is the essence of circular production. Cibutex also raises awareness about the effects of our production methods, in order to stimulate more responsible behavior.

SDG 13: climate action

Circularity is about decreasing the use of natural resources and reducing the amount of waste. Both these principles have a positive impact on the climate.

SDG 17: partnerships for the goals                                                                                                                             

Cibutex is a coalition, a collaboration of various companies and stakeholders. In what we do, we create partnerships. Cibutex is very much about 'joining forces'.

Question: What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities for Cibutex in the next five years? And how do you see your position in the ETSA Membership in addressing these?

The biggest challenges for Cibutex are:

  • Getting producers and textile brands to join us to develop textile-tot-textile solutions
  • Import bans (restrictions) to bring end-of-life textiles back to the textile producing countries
  • Lack of recycling capacity in Europe
  • The EPR is focused on the fashion industry and does not (yet) address industry solutions


  • Our platform CibuteXchange could be the solution for the textile service industry
  • Legislation can push companies faster towards a circular economy
  • Textile-to-textile projects will motivate the industry to participate and contribute

Cibutex has joined ETSA to be closer to the main stakeholders in the industry. We will share our knowledge about the circular economy, and we look forward to work jointly on solutions and participate in our circular initiatives, like textile-to-textile projects and our platform that can facilitate the industry.

Question: Looking forward, what are the major trends you believe will shape the textile service industry? What advice would you give to newer companies working with textile service companies, particularly those interested in sustainability and circular economy models?

We will see an increasing role of AI and robotics in the industry. I would like to encourage the sector to hire people with skills in these fields and to set up programs for leadership teams, since leadership teams often suffer from a lack of knowledge about these topics. Also, with the decisive years of 2030, 2040 and 2050 on the horizon we will need new companies for which circularity is not an option - circularity is the only possible way forward.

ETSA: Representing textile rental companies

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To find out more about our members including suppliers, national associations and research institutes click here

ETSA: In partnership with suppliers of detergents, fabrics and machinery

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To find out more about our members including textile rental companies, national associations and research institutes click here

ETSA: Coordinating national textile service associations and working with research institutes

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To find out more about our members including textile rental companies and suppliers, click here