Circular Textile Lab: a major breakthrough in recycling 100% of clothing

Twente has an extensive history of textile knowledge and a lot of knowledge about textile recycling. The region is almost ready to make the textile industry fully circular; a crucial goal in the energy transition. The Circular Textile Lab will make an essential contribution to the Dutch ambition of making half of all textiles sustainable by 2030.

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In short

  • The Circular Textile Lab is the first knowledge and innovation centre in the Netherlands that recycles almost all jeans' components, for example. 
  • The Circular Textile Lab develops mechanical and chemical techniques to recycle as many textiles as possible on a small testing scale and to create new raw materials for the textile industry.
Circular textile

We recycle around 33 per cent of the 136 million kilos of textile waste we collect in the Netherlands annually. Only one per cent of this is recycled into new raw materials for the textile industry. The reason for this is that the rest is often of low quality and because zippers, buttons, labels and trouser pockets are difficult to recycle. Companies, researchers and students from Saxion University of Applied Sciences all work together within the Circular Textile lab, where they test innovations for recycling textile waste on a larger scale.

The Circular Textile Lab

The Circular Textile Lab develops mechanical and chemical techniques in order to recycle as many textiles as possible on a small testing scale and to create new raw materials for the textile industry. One of the lab’s goals, for example, is to find out which textiles are easier to recycle and which still need to be pre-treated before they can be recycled. The Circular Textile Lab is the first knowledge and innovation centre in the Netherlands that recycles almost all components of jeans, for example. Various machines and instruments were purchased to realise innovations on a small testing scale, in order to develop the circular textiles of the future.

Cotton, polyester and new (bio)materials

The partnered companies, researchers and students in the Circular Textile Lab are focussing on the biggest textile waste problem first: cotton. They’re starting with recycling small quantities of cotton. The partnered companies want to involve the second biggest textile waste problem, polyester, in the circular recycling process, and subsequently use the lab for looking at other possibilities regarding (bio)materials. 

The Circular Textile Lab

The Circular Textile Lab is an initiative from TexPlus, and it makes developing and producing circular textiles possible on a larger scale. The TexPlus Foundation is a cooperation between six front-runners in the field of circular fabrics in the province of Overijssel. The foundation consists of Twente Milieu, Regionaal Textielsorteercentrum Twente, SaXcell BV, Saxion University of Applied Sciences, Frankenhuis BV and Enschede Textielstad Innovation BV. They represent the entire textile chain: from textile collection to processing and making new products for the market. 

 

The Circular Textile Lab is open to partners, students, researchers and companies that have the ambition of recycling textiles in a high-quality way.

Date: 4 February 2021
Source of tekst: Circulair textiel lab
Author: Twente.com
Audio / video: Circulair Textiel lab