Is There a Sustainable Solution for Textile to Textile Recycling?
09 Jun 2022
Closing the Loop on Plastic Waste
Polyester is one of the most widely used polymers all around the world, with applications that span from packaging to textiles. Depending on the application the material composition can be quite different, with a polyester amount ranging from more than 99% for PET bottles to 25% for some particular textile applications. The most common method for the recycling of plastic waste is mechanical recycling. This process typically includes collection, sorting, washing and grinding of the material, but a breakdown of polymer chains occurs when the resin goes through multiple cycles, degrading its intrinsic viscosity and limiting the number of times the process can be repeated. The larger amount of polyester is then landfilled or incinerated, and this is particularly true for textiles, where colorants and dyes can play a pivotal role. Is there a sustainable solution? Polyester wastes that are not mechanically reused can be depolymerized via a chemical processes to recover the monomers than can be used to produce new virgin PET and then more sustainable fibers, avoiding non-renewable sources.