A Danish consortium was launched three years ago to find new textile recycling solutions: the ReSuit (Recycling Technologies and Sustainable Textile Product Design) Project brought together brands, manufacturers, academics and recycling experts from across the country’s fashion industry.

After three years of research, it has developed two new recycling processes for polyester textiles, which are said to account for half of all clothing waste globally.

  • The first process opens the door for textile-to-textile recycling of polyester. The dissolution method separates polyester from colour and additives, resulting in a recycled polyester of quality high enough to be used in the production of new textiles.
  • The second process focuses on complex clothing waste usually considered too intricate and too processed to be recycled. The waste is subjected to heat and pressure (hydrothermal liquefaction), transforming into bio-oil that can be upgraded into chemical building blocks for fuel and naphtha production. The polyester component of the mixed clothing waste changes into a substance called terephthalic acid, which is a primary building block in polyester production.

The development comes shortly after the apparel sector was urged to create a solid fibre-to-fibre recycled PET polyester industry.