Recover, Polopiqué and Rieter’s collaboration to explore textile recycling tech

The environmental impact of textile waste is one of the biggest concerns in today’s world. Every second, the equivalent is a garbage truck full of clothes burned or buried in a landfill. To solve this big problem, the fashion industry is promoting a shift to a circular economy. Pioneering companies have already been thinking about taking rapid steps toward circularity. To accelerate the adoption of the circular economy, the wise thinking of designers, brands, manufacturers, recyclers and consumers is the key driver. Only collaboration among the companies can foster innovation and develop more efficient recycling technologies. This article will look into the highlighted developments that took place in ITMA 2023.

RecoverTM, Rieter and Polopiqué collaborate to promote recycling in textile industry

Rieter, RecoverTM & Polopiqué started working together to solve a significant textile industry challenge. They revealed their collaboration at ITMA 2023.

Combining Recover’s mastery of the latest in recyclin  g, Rieter’s expertise in spinning systems and machines, and Polopiqué’s textile manufacturing proficiencies, the three companies have created high-quality, sustainable garments. It’s made from high-quality 30Ne compressed yarn, containing 40% recycled post-industrial fabric scrap in the yarn. Only 20% of the recycled fiber content is used to produce recycled ring yarn. The ring-spinning process used for this project combines a Rieter comber and a Rieter COMPACT drum compactor.

Recover’s high-quality recycled cotton yarn is blended with virgin cotton in a 50/50 ratio. When combing the blend, very short fibers and unwanted neps are effectively removed, significantly improving the yarn quality and improving the operating efficiency of the ring spinning machine. In addition, combs removed fibers are perfectly suited for processing in Rieter rotor spinning machines. The process aims to be GRS Global Recycling Standard certified. Polopique is one of the few complete vertical textile industries in Europe, controlling production from spinning, weaving, knitting and finishing to manufacturing high-quality garments for clothing and home textiles. The collaboration between these three companies results from increased demand for high-quality and fine ring-spun cotton yarns with more recycled fibres.

Andritz, Nouvelles, Pellenc ST develop an innovative approach to textile recycling

International technology group Andritz has partnered with Pellenc ST and Nouvelles Fibers Textiles to establish the first automatic textile sorting line on an industrial scale in France. This partnership combines the three partners’ expertise in sorting technology, textile machinery and the post-consumer textile value chain.

The new textile sorting line will utilize Pellenc ST’s automated sorting technologies and Andritz’s recycling technologies for post-consumer textile waste treatment, production of recycled yarn for the spinning industry, and nonwovens and synthetic materials.

The line is expected to enter the industry in mid-2023 and will serve as a new Textile Yarn production line, an R&D line for partners, and a test and demonstration center for their customers. This line can sort finished garments by composition and color, achieving maximum purity through precise and fully personalized settings. This adaptability meets the requirements of the post-consumer and post-industrial waste markets. In addition, the versatility of the line meets the requirements of nonwoven manufacturers and spinning mills, providing them with the highest quality fibers best suited for the yarn industry, as well as the manufacturing process and shaping and finishing bonding of nonwoven. Ultimately, the line will provide traceability throughout the entire supply chain, from collection to production of new recycled yarn. This function is essential to assist companies in the textile and apparel industry’s search for value and circularity and to help them achieve the goals of the environmental, social and governance (ESG) program.

Figure 2: Nouvelles Fibres Textiles’ partners also work closely in R&D at the ANDRITZ Laroche and Pellenc ST technical centers to keep pushing technical boundaries. Courtesy: Andritz

€10 million funding of EU Life in Collaborative recycling project of Lenzing group and Södra
 Austria-based supplier of speciality fibres for textile and nonwovens, Lenzing Group, and the Swedish pulp producer Södra working on ‘OnceMore’ have received their largest funding of € 10 million from EU Life. OnceMore is a textile recycling project named “Life Treats” whose core goal is to pave on circularity. The Lenzing Group will apply its “Refibra” technology with full resources to process and recycle a wide variety of colorful and complex textiles. This project aims to enable the production of 60,000 tons of pulp at the Södra plant by combining 50% recycled materials and 50% renewable pulp with the capacity to process approximately 50,000 tons of post-consumer textile waste. Södra reports that the European Union throws away 5.8 million tons of textiles yearly, equivalent to 11 kg per person. In addition, consumption is expected to increase by 60% by 2030 from current levels. Lenzing and Södra have been working together in textile recycling since 2021, making an important contribution to promoting circularity in the fashion industry.

Figure 3: Södra’s mill in Mörrum, Sweden. Courtesy: Lenzing Group

During the partnership, the companies plan to share knowledge and jointly develop methods to facilitate the wider use of used cellulose textiles on an industrial scale. The OnceMore® pulp developed by the two companies will then be used for various purposes, including as a raw material for producing Lenzing’s TENCEL™ branded speciality fibers using REFIBRA™ technology. LIFE TREATS aims to reach an annual treatment capacity of 50,000 tons of textile waste by 2027. The project is set to significantly contribute to the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan by diverting large amounts of colored and mixed textile waste from recycling, landfilling or incineration. Stakeholders in the circular textile value chain will be actively involved here, from raw materials to production, distribution, collection and recycling.

Pulcra chemicals and Inditex’s joint venture ‘Sustineri Coloring’ bringing sustainability to dyeing

Sustineri Coloring is based on newly engineered process chemicals which allow a one-bath pretreatment and dyeing process for dark, medium and light shades of cotton and polyester/cotton fabrics by exhaust method. This results in shorter processing time and less use of water and energy. The process is already used in selected factories, and has been shown by Sustineri Coloring to reduce the processing time by up to 60 percent and reduce water and energy consumption by up to 80 and 60 percent in both pretreatment and dyeing. As state-of-the-art products are used here, they allow a one bath treatment, which is the main reason for saving resources.

This process results from joint research of Pulcra chemicals and Inditex, which can be used for both cotton and polyester/cotton. This project aims to reduce the effect of standard dyeing with low energy consumption.

ZDHC collaborates with OEKO-TEX for environmental chemical management
ZDHC (Zero discharge of hazardous chemicals) and OEKO-TEX® have partnered to improve sustainable chemical management and cleaner chemistry principles. This partnership aims to promote sustainability and meet the needs of chemical manufacturers/formulas, suppliers, brands and retailers. The goal is to create a consistent approach to the sustainable management of chemicals and products in the global value chain.
The agreement provides a framework for the work of the two groups. It includes an Oeko-Tex Eco passport that certifies conformity against the ZDHC MRSL V3.1.

The Passports can be obtained from any Oeko-Tex eco-passport laboratory, but chemical formulations must register the product with the ZDHC gateway to display the certificate.

It also smooths alignment with the upcoming ZDHC Chemicals to Zero Program and maximizes knowledge sharing between technical groups from both organizations. In addition, both groups agreed that Oeko-Tex would promote ZDHC products and platforms such as Gateway, ClearStream, and InCheck to reduce duplication of effort and promote industry harmonization.

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