Last year November, the FIBERSORT partner consortium led by Circle Economy, submitted a phase 1 proposal for the ‘Market demonstration and validation of FIBERSORT technology’: an automated sorting technology able to sort large volumes of mixed post-consumer textiles based on material composition. Now, a year later, the partner consortium has successfully proceeded to the final step of the INTERREG NWE programme and is a serious contender to receive funding to support further plans.
The textiles industry is the second most polluting industry in the world and fashion is the second largest consumer and polluter of water. This is why over one year ago, Wieland Textiles, Valvan Baling Systems, Metrohm Applikon, Worn Again, Salvation Army ReShare and Circle Economy joined their forces in the Textile Sorting Project. The project aims to demonstrate FIBERSORT technology to the market in a demo plant to validate this as the key value adding innovation to enable the shift to high value recycling for recyclable textiles and create a tipping point for a closed loop textiles industry. The objective is to realize widespread implementation of the technology.
“We are proud to announce that the NWE Monitoring Committee has approved the proposal and all partners are excited and dedicated to submit the final phase 2 proposal by June 24th of this year”, comments Hélène Smits from Circle Economy.
Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) is a European Territorial Cooperation Programme funded by the European Commission with the ambition to make the North-West Europe area a key economic player and an attractive place to work and live, with high levels of innovation, sustainability and cohesion. It invests EUR 370 million of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in activities based on the cooperation of organisations from eight countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
In North-West Europe ±4650 Kt of textiles are discarded every year, of which only ±30% is collected. Of these collected textiles ±40% is not suitable for re-wear and these recyclable textiles are currently being down cycled. Of these, ± 50% could be regenerated into new textiles through high value (textile to textile) recycling routes.
Essential to the success of this project is the collaboration between different stakeholders in the value chain. Within the partner consortium, all three domains that are needed to achieve the main objective and outputs are represented: textile recycling value chain (Wieland Textiles, Salvation Army ReShare, Worn Again), technology providers (Valvan Baling Systems, Metrohm), market uptake & implementation (Circle Economy and associate partner network).