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Partnership pursues closed-loop textile recycling

EcoNote | January 25, 2021 | By:

Swiss fluid engineering company Sulzer announces that its partnership with H&M Group and Worn Again Technologies is developing technology for closed-loop recycling of textiles. Textile waste is one of society’s pressing environmental issues, Sulzer says, and because of the complexity of garments’ production, chemical recycling techniques to date have been applied to a minor share of end-of-use textiles and clothing. 

As the major technology partner for U.K.-based Worn Again Technologies, a company majority owned by Sulzer and H&M Group, Sulzer brings in its expertise with a new technology to recycle old textiles back into reusable textiles, enabling circularity. The teams will now engineer a demonstration plant and further scale-up this novel closed-loop recycling process with a planned output of 1000 tons per year.

Worn Again Technologies is an early-stage technology company based in the U.K. Building on its long-standing expertise in separation, mixing and polymerization technologies, Sulzer will provide the equipment and technology at the heart of Worn Again Technologies unique closed-loop textile recycling process, converting textiles at their end of use back into virgin-like raw materials for millions of tons of garments usually ending up in landfills or incinerators. 

Following on the successful launch of a Worn Again Technologies’ research and development (R&D) pilot plant, Sulzer’s Chemtech experts will be supporting Worn Again Technologies in designing and building a larger demonstration facility. This new facility will convert used cotton and polyester garments into polyester pellets and cellulosic pulp that can then be re-spun into new fibers.

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