Petri Alava used to work in large corporations, selling everything from magazines to gardening products while wearing ironed suits.

He proudly wears a round-neck T-shirt made of recycled fabrics tucked into some loose shorts while managing a Finnish start-up where wearing socks to work is the norm. His business, Infinited Fiber, has made large investments in a process that might transform textile waste—waste that would normally be burned or thrown in landfills—into new clothing fiber. Patagonia, H&M, and Inditex, which owns Zara, are presently among the international businesses that use fiber, also known as Infinna. Mr. Alava claims it is a premium textile material that obviates a huge waste problem and feels and looks natural, like cotton. Globally, 92 million metric tons of textile waste are purportedly produced each year, and if current trends in the manufacturing of garments are maintained, this number is anticipated to rise to over 134 million metric tons by 2030, according to the non-profit Global Fashion Agenda. Mr. Alava claims that the product is made through a complicated, multi-step process that starts with the destruction of old fabrics and the removal of synthetic materials and dyes.

Although most of the science required to create the fiber has been known since the 1980s, large-scale production is now a more plausible possibility due to recent rapid technological advancements.