About the work
The final report has the English title “Textile flows and pretreatment methods for textile fiber recycling”. The aim of the study was to assess existing preconditions for large-scale fiber recycling of cotton and viscose textiles using Re:newcell’s patent technology. For this purpose, the study was divided into two sub-studies:
1) To examine existing textile flows in Sweden and to identify possible sources and amounts of discarded textiles that may be used for large-scale fiber recycling using Renewcell’s technology; and
2) To examine existing pretreatment methods for sorting, cutting and cleaning of the inflowing textile raw material before chemical processing; to propose a favourable combination of such methods; and to calculate CAPEX and OPEX for the proposed combination of methods.
For the first sub-study, a flow analysis was performed to examine the main textile flows, key textile actors, and textile groups in Sweden. Thereafter, a statistical analysis was made to assess the net import and export of cotton and/or viscose containing textiles (per textile group) into Sweden. Calculations were also made to estimate how large the shares of cotton-containing textiles were in relation to the total import for each textile group. Moreover, telephone interviews were made to examine how much textiles are handled annually by the main charity organizations in Sweden, and also what happens to the textiles after their collection. Thereafter, a questionnaire was sent out to a large number of Swedish laundry companies to examine how much textiles are handled by these companies annually and the destinies of their discarded textiles. Lastly, based on official statistics, the study investigated how much textiles are thrown into the bin annually by private households in Sweden. Based on these analyses, the study was able to draw conclusions as to how much discarded textiles are likely to be retrieved (sorted and unsorted) from identified sources for the proposed recycling facility on Wargön. Possible interests for collaboration with Renewcell among the examined laundry companies and charity organizations in Sweden were also assessed.
The second sub-study was based on a comprehensive review of existing pretreatment methods for sorting, cutting and cleaning (i.e. separation of zippers, buttons, and other undesirable materials from the textile) before chemical processing of the textile material. Plausible technologies and methods were identified and presented in terms of three alternative sets of combinations. Economic calculations were made (as CAPEX and OPEX) to identify the most favourable set of combined methods, which could be adopted by the planned recycling facility on Wargön.
The final report was submitted in January 2014 (in Swedish) and later released in an official version in April 2014. The official report may be downloaded here. A Swedish summary was also written as an article on Green Strategy’s website. The results of the study were used as a valuable basis by Re:newcell and Wargön Innovation to proceed with their plans for large-scale fiber recycling using Re:newcell’s technology on Wargön in central Sweden.
(Download the report here.)