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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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