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Rester developing end-of-life textile refinement plant

Aug '20
Pic: Cision
Pic: Cision
Rester Oy, which recycles companies' end-of-life textiles, is developing Nordic countries’ first industrial end-of-life textile refinement plant in Paimio. Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto Oy, which processes households' end-of-life textiles, will hire a production area at the plant, to open in 2021. It will process 12,000 tonnes of end-of-life textiles per year.

About 100 million kilograms of textile waste are generated annually in Finland alone. Reusing this material could reduce the textile industry’s carbon footprint and significantly reduce the use of natural resources.

Rester Oy and Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto Oy (LSJH) will drive the textile sector towards a circular economy and begin processing textile waste as an industrial raw material.

Outi Luukko, Rester Oy’s board chair, says, “The processing plant will begin a new era of textile circular economy in Finland. As industry pioneers, we are launching a system change in Scandinavia. The transition of the textile industry from a linear model to a circular economy is essential, as virgin materials cannot sustain the current structure of the textile industry. And why should it, when there is so much recyclable material available?”

From the perspective of Rester Oy’s main owner, work clothing supplier Touchpoint, the circular economy plant not only represents resource efficiency, but is also necessary from the perspective of the entire life cycle of a responsible work clothing collection.

Luukko adds, “Finding a local solution to a global problem is a huge leap in the right direction and raises Finland's profile as a pioneer of circular economy."

The 3,000-square-metre plant will be able to process 12,000 tonnes of end-of-life textiles annually, which represents about 10 per cent of Finland’s textile waste. Both production lines produce recycled fibre, which can be used for various industrial applications, including yarn and fabric, insulating materials for construction and shipping industries, acoustic panels, composites, non-woven and filter materials, and other technical textiles, such as geo-textiles.

LSJH has launched a pilot production line for processing households' end-of-life textiles. Consumers' end-of-life textiles are heterogeneous, making them a challenging raw material for further processing. Before processing, the textiles are sorted by material into various fibre classes using optical identification technology developed by LSJH and its partners. This ensures the quality of the raw material and the resulting fibre products.

Jukka Heikkilä, managing director for Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto, explains: “On the basis of the experiences gathered from the pilot project, Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto is preparing a full-scale refinement plant in the Turku region. As soon as 2023, the plant will process Finnish households' end-of-life textiles. The project involves all waste treatment plants owned by Finnish municipalities.”

Rester’s initiative aims to create a circular economy cluster in Paimio that combines the processing and reuse of end-of-life textile fibres. Paimion Kehitys Oy, which is owned by the City of Paimio and the local association of enterprises, supports the development of circular economy companies in Paimio.

Mika Ingi, managing director for Paimion Kehitys Oy, says, “We want to step out of our traditional municipal role and create significant added value for everyone taking part. That is why we are involved in the development of a new modern service model based on ecosystem thinking. We are piloting the textile cluster, followed in the coming years by clusters focusing on plastic, construction, and energy. The aim of our service is to support and help develop new profitable business by bringing circular economy companies and their potential customers to innovate together."

The processing plant will begin operations in February 2021.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (SV)

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