UK fashion sourcing expo Source Fashion plans to debut what it says is a “world-first” in polyester textile recycling next week.
Project Re:claim, a commercial-scale, post-consumer polyester recycling plant that has reportedly been developed under a joint venture between corporate wear experts Project Plan B and Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd (SATCoL), the trading arm of the charity, will be on display at Source Fashion, which runs from July 16–18 at Olympia London.
During a live seminar on the new technology on Monday, July 17, Charlene Bent, marketing manager, and Majonne Frost, head of sustainability from SATCoL, who will be discussing its possibilities and game-changing impact for the fashion industry, visitors to Source Fashion will be able to learn how polyester textiles have been successfully recycled back into raw material.
The unique polyester recycling system, developed by Project Plan B, is based on the reuse of plastic bottles. The machine will be installed by The Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd (SATCoL) in September at their Processing Center in Kettering, which already sorts and processes about 65,000 tonnes of donated textiles annually.
Suzanne Ellingham, director of sourcing at Source Fashion says: “The recycling of polyester has remained one of the most difficult challenges in post-consumer clothing recycling, despite the fashion industry’s growing embrace of reuse, recycling, and circular economy practices. We are ecstatic to provide Project Re:claim’s revolutionary technology to SATCoL on a global stage at Source Fashion.”
The new facility aims to recycle polyester that has reached the end of its useful life. In its first year, it will recycle roughly 2,500 tonnes, increasing to 5,000 tonnes in year two. Polyester pellets are produced using this technology, and the first yarn has been successfully made from them.
Majonne Frost, head of environment and sustainability at SATCoL says, “Over 250 million products were reused and recycled last year thanks to SATCoL, but there will always be goods that are too damaged for us to sell, frequently polyester clothing. This new technology allows us to breathe new life into these garments. Therefore, when your favorite sweater becomes worn out, we will take it and turn it into polyester pellets so that it can be made into a new sweater. The future of fashion is here.”
SATCoL already owns Fibersort, the sole automated textile sorting facility in the United Kingdom. Fibersort, based at the nonprofit’s purpose-built processing facility in Kettering, automatically recognizes and groups used textiles by fiber type and is the first step in recycling textiles into new textiles. In order to dramatically scale up the recycling of all types of materials from textile to textile, SATCoL describes this technology as the next step in its goal to establish the UK’s first fiber farm.