A Review of Commercial Textile Fibre Recycling Technologies

10th May 2016

This report reviews commercially available textile fibre recycling technologies. Its purpose is to identify existing textile fibre recycling techniques, to inform the development of a sustainable textiles recycling market within the UK.

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Key findings
Methods for segregation and consumer education on recycling and re-use could be improved
Improved segregation and technological development of recycling technologies can increase the value of these end markets

Overview

Overview

The technologies reviewed in this report can be used for the recycling or segregation of textile materials such as:

  • Clothing
  • Footwear
  • Carpets
  • Mattresses
  • Household linens

The report details commercially operational technologies only, i.e. not developmental technologies or mechanical and chemical recycling techniques. The technologies reviewed were:

  • Textile sorting: manual and automated
  • Mechanical recycling: flocking, nonwovens and shoddy manufacture
  • Chemical recycling: polyester, nylon and polypropylene
  • Carpet recycling: mechanical and chemical;
  • Mattress recycling: manual disassembly
  • Footwear recycling: shredding, blending and remoulding.

The findings of this report identify relatively few technical barriers for the uptake of the textile fibre recycling technologies apart from closed loop fibre recycling, particularly of mixed fibres.

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Where next?

Want to know more about extending clothing life in sustainable textiles? Take a look at our reports, guides, tools and case studies for further information: 

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