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Old clothes are valuable raw materials - New ways for recycling

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Nowadays, when we talk about recycling, most people only think of plastic, paper, or glass. One important raw material is often forgotten: textiles and clothing.
In an article published in the Technology Review, Laura Kunze, project manager for innovative material development at imat-uve, talks about the EU-funded INTERREG project for recycled clothing made of mixed fibers and the value of this raw material.

Currently, less than one percent of all old clothes are recycled to high standards. The remainder is incinerated or processed into simple felts. Numerous companies are now working on processes to recover textile fibers. However, the recycling of textiles made of mixed fibers is proving to be a problem, as this could previously only be achieved with chemical additives. The project consortium is taking other approaches and is researching ways to recycle the waste solely mechanically and produce high-quality yarns and fabrics without the use of chemicals. Furthermore, in cooperation with the project partners, imat-uve has set the goal of establishing the entire process chain from sorting and shredding to spinning and weaving in the German-Dutch border region as an economic sector. Thus, old textiles can be brought into an ecologically sensible recycling economy.

You can find the entire article here: Technology Review

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