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Textile recycling is helping create a circular economy | Podcast

Tackling the global textile waste challenge

The fashion and textile industries are at a pivotal point, urgently needing to incorporate sustainable practices, particularly in textile recycling. With the industry's shift towards synthetic materials like polyester, there's a significant challenge in handling the large quantity of textile waste, estimated at 92 million tons globally every year. Emerging chemical textile recycling technologies, especially those focusing on common polyester-cotton blends, are key to reducing waste and decreasing reliance on new raw materials.

This has major implications for the circular economy; if you can reduce textile waste to zero then the techniques could theoretically be used across other manufacturing sectors. To discuss this, David Banmiller is joined by Toby Moss and Erik Koep from Worn Again. Worn Again focuses on recycling polycotton blends, which make up 80% of all textiles.

Erik and Toby explain how they navigate the intricacies of recycling materials in a world where the average garment contains multiple fabric blends, often with less than 1% of unknown materials. What strategies are they employing to expand their technology's reach, considering the scale of this global challenge?

The use of polyester in textiles is almost as widespread as the use of plastic bottles in Europe. Effective recycling methods for these widely used materials are essential in reducing environmental impact, marking an important stride in changing the industry's waste management and sustainability strategies.

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