Södra announced a solution that is designed to enable circular flows in the fashion and textile industry. One of the major obstacles to textile recycling is that the fabrics are often made from blended materials. Södra’s new technique can separate the cotton and polyester in polycotton blends, one of the most widely used textile blends on the market. Upon separation, the pure cotton fibers are added to the wood-derived textile pulp, which can then be used to make new textiles.
Recently Södra’s pulp mill in Mörrum, Sweden, produced pulp by adding 20 metric tons of used textiles. Test materials included end-of-life sheets, towels, tablecloths and bathrobes from hospitals and hotels provided by Berendsen. Currently, Södra can only accept white textiles, but the aim is to find a decoloring solution. The company is also investigating the possibility of extracting a stream of residual products from polyester. Production will begin at a low rate of 30 metric tons this year, but the long-term target is to add 25,000 metric tons of textiles to the company’s pulp production.