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Avery Dennison launches digital care label for apparel

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

May 25, 2021


Image: courtesy of Avery Dennison

Avery Dennison has announced a partnership with Los Angeles-based Ambercycle, a post-consumer garment recycler, to launch its digital care label solution as part of its goal to accelerate circularity in apparel.

The digital care labelling solution from Avery Dennison features a physical care label with a QR code that links to an app to offer consumers a fully traceable and digital experience. The app is powered by Avery Dennison’s data platform, details how the garment was produced and how the piece should be looked after.

These intelligent care labels can act as a digital passport providing details on how the garment was manufactured and the materials it contains, while also providing a ‘digital launching point’ for brands to extend their relationship with their customers, explains Avery Dennison in a press release.

Sarah Swenson, global senior sustainability manager at Avery Dennison RBIS, said in a statement: “These labels are an exciting development, as consumers can discover their garment’s story, see how it was made, and understand the environmental benefits from their choice. When the consumer no longer needs the item, they can scan the QR code to see what needs to happen to properly dispose of the garment.

“In this case, if they send the garment back to Ambercycle it will be recycled back into a new textile. Brands can benefit from access to a deeper level of data both in terms of shopper engagement and also understanding just how many items remain in the circular economy.”

Avery Dennison teams up with Ambercycle to demonstrate benefits of digital care labelling

Legally, all garments sold must have a physical care and content label to communicate product information, such as washing instructions and material composition. This information is not just helpful for consumers, it is also vital for recyclers and resellers as it allows them to easily identify what the garment is made of after the original owner has disposed of it.

However, Avery Dennison notes that many consumers remove the physical care label, while brands underutilise them, which it adds can increase the risk of the garment ending up in landfill rather than being resold or recycled.

In contrast, the new digital label it says advances the circular economy as recyclers can be confident of composition and resellers will be able to check authenticity.

Image: courtesy of Avery Dennison

Michael Hu, director of digitalisation at Avery Dennison RBIS, added: “Brands are looking to deepen their customer engagement and lighten their environmental impact. This allows the apparel industry to use the garment itself as a stepping-stone for a new form of storytelling.

“Avery Dennison is providing a total solution - a physical trigger to a digital experience, a data platform, and applications for brands, consumers, and the wider apparel industry to utilise.”

Ambercycle, Avery Dennison’s first partner for its digital care label, converts end-of-life textile ‘waste’ into new yarns for apparel brands and manufacturers. Its garments are created from polyester textiles that were destined for landfill, but are instead broken down to a molecular level, turned into pellets, and then spun into Cycora yarns which can be processed by garment manufacturers in the same way as virgin yarns.

Shay Sethi, chief executive of Ambercycle, said: “Our raw materials are end-of-life textile clothing that we regenerate into new Cycora yarns and fabrics. A key concern in this process is the upfront identification and sorting the different types of fabrics to inform the best end-of-life solutions. A digital care label is essential to embracing the broader vision for circularity, as it enables a more streamlined and scalable way for us to regenerate material.

“As we built the physical infrastructure to take in and reprocess material, we knew we had to think about the digital infrastructure to enable full circularity. The digital care labels in collection one will help us track Cycora garments so that their path to be ambercycled again at their end of life is seamless. Together with Avery Dennison, we believe this will be a transformative step forward into the inevitable circular future.”

Avery Dennison