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Next generation recycling of composites, technical fabrics and other textiles
published in Issue 125, April 2023
The scale of the textile waste problem is formidable, and the need for recycling is more pressing than ever. But the volume of fibres being recycled back into new fibres in any kind of circular system amounts to less than 1% of global fibre production. Changes are afoot, however. In particular, a range of initiatives is being driven by the leading apparel brands, and legislation is pending which aims to ensure that fibres of the future will become more widely perceived as valuable resources. In the EU, the separate collection of textile waste will become mandatory from January 1, 2025, and an extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme for dealing with the waste will be introduced. Also, Euratex is calling for 150-250 dedicated new recycling centres to be established in Europe in the next few years. In the case of carbon fibre composites, only around 1,000 tons of the 60,000 tons produced in 2020 were recycled. But global demand for carbon fibre is likely to outstrip production in the coming years, and this disparity is likely to help drive demand for recycled carbon. A number of recycling methods have been developed which facilitate the reclamation of high quality, clean, reusable fibres. Also, a number of projects have been established for recycling glass fibre composites. In carpets, products are being developed using monomaterials, or single polymer constructions, in order to facilitate recycling. In the workwear sector, strides are being made in the development of methods for recycling uniforms containing para-aramid fibres. These are difficult to recycle but they are non-degradable and can not be incinerated and so they end up in landfill if they are not recycled.
List of contents
APPAREL WASTE RECYCLING
EU extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme
Euratex ReHubs initiative
Five circularity initiatives in Scandinavian countries
EU exports of used textiles
Textile recycling company: Lawrence M Barry (LMB) & Co
Take-back programmes: Reskinned
CARBON COMPOSITES RECYCLING
Gen 2 Carbon: recycling carbon from waste composites
Longworth: Deecom pressolysis polymer recycling process
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