New technology developed to convert old textiles into new textile pulp

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From textile waste to re:newcell pulp to renewcell lyocell fibre (Foto: re:newcell)

Stockholm, Sweden – re:newcell has started the construction of its demonstration plant, where a completely new way of recycling cotton will revolutionize the fashion industry. With the company’s newly developed technology, old textiles such as jeans or t-shirts, can be converted into new textile pulp. Such re:newcell pulp is then used to produce new clothes. The factory is located inside the AkzoNobel facility in Kristinehamn, Sweden, and is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2017.

In its Stockholm lab, re:newcell AB has developed a technology that makes it possible to take waste from the textile industry and from it produce new pulp. Such pulp is called dissolving pulp, and is today made from trees (for example, Lenzing, Södra or AdityaBirla). Dissolving pulp is mainly used to manufacture textile fibre materials such as Viscose or Lyocell. Until today it has not been possible to make new high quality textiles from recycled fabric.

The global textile demand is currently some 90 million tons per year. Natural materials (such as cotton and viscose) represent only about one-third. The remaining fibres are mainly oil-based materials such as polyester, elastane and nylon. Being able to increase the amount of natural materials by extending the life of already available resources is a top priority both among consumers and among the big fashion companies. Until now, it has not been possible to recycle cotton into the quality that fashion industry demands, but with re:newcell pulp this becomes possible.

The technology development has been ongoing since 2012 and now the process has matured to such a degree that the company is investing €8 million to build an initial production line. The construction takes place inside the AkzoNobel facility in Kristinehamn, Sweden, some two hours from Stockholm.

The company’s chairman Malcolm Norlin says: „We are very pleased to now be able to move forward and contribute to realizing the dream of a sustainable textile industry. Kristinehamn is located in the Paper Province in Värmland and gives us access to great skills when it comes to resource-efficient mass production. We consider it very positive that we can operate from a first-class facility such as AkzoNobel’s in Kristinehamn.“

Source: re:newcell AB