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Fibre to fibre recycling for polyester

Circularity in textiles is feasible, with no compromise on the quality and technical performance of the products, says RadiciGroup.

15th June 2023

Knitting Industry
 |  Milan


An ambitious research and development project, which demonstrates the feasibility of polyester ‘fibre to fibre’ recycling, has been developed by sportswear manufacturer Sportstex, and RadiciGroup, a group with many years of experience in circular economy. The two companies are collaborating for the recovery of polyester textile waste such as uniforms for football, volleyball and other sports.

The involvement of Pure Loop, a company specialised in recovery machinery, was immediate, with the aim of identifying the best available technology to obtain a new textile fibre, RadiciGroup reports.

To reach this goal, the R&D teams of the three companies carried out various tests to achieve a recycled textile product with advanced technical features. An initial result was obtained using a mixed recovery technique, dosing variable percentages of granules from recycled bottles together with polyester granules from recycled fabrics. The experience allowed the gradual fine tuning of the processes to create a yarn derived 100% from textile waste.

Once scaled-up, this circular system will make it possible to easily produce recycled polyester garments that, at the end of their life, can be recovered again. Shimano was the first company to embrace this sustainability project branding the first jersey coming from this supply chain collaboration. A cycling jersey made with this process was on display for the first time at ITMA in Milan this week, at the booth of project partner Pure Loop.

The research project has highlighted a new recycling way, which allows to obtain quality polyester fibres starting, for example, from pre-owned clothes, for a textile Closed Loop, RadiciGroup says. Erdotex, a company specialised in the sorting of used garments, will also support the project and thanks to specific sorting procedures, it will make it possible to feed the innovative recycling process, with the ambition of developing a real industrial process.

“Achieving increasingly sustainable textiles is at the heart of the strategy of Radici InNova, the RadiciGroup company focused on innovation for circularity,” underlines Gianni Todaro, R&D Specialist Apparel and Technical, RadiciGroup Advanced Textile Solutions. “For some time now, we have been designing innovative solutions with high technical performance that respect the environment, working in synergy with our customers and suppliers and sharing our knowledge in the recovery of textile waste.”

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