Textiles recycling breakthrough from Sweden

Scandinavia: Swedish research programme Mistra Future Fashion has devised a new recycling process for cotton and polyester, named Blend Rewind. Euro 600 000 (more than US$ 700 000) has been invested in the initiative, which has been supported by the Gothenburg-based Chalmers University of Technology.

At the heart of Blend Rewind is a chemical recycling process that yields new viscose filaments from polyester and cotton fibre blends. The process generates three circular outgoing product streams: cotton is turned into new, high-quality viscose filaments and polyester into two ‘pure’ new monomers. The filaments have the same quality as those made from commercial dissolving pulp used in existing viscose production. The recycling ‘breakthrough’ is the result of six years of research, reports Hanna de la Motte, Mistra Future Fashion team leader and a research scientist at the Research Institutes of Sweden. ‘Scaling up from lab scale is the biggest challenge at the moment and it is also costly,’ she comments. ‘The integration possibilities of the Blend Rewind process would, however, address these challenges in feasible ways.’ De La Motte calls the innovation ‘an important milestone’ for the future of global textile recycling systems necessary to enable circularity for fashion and textiles.

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