Has this tech business cracked the circularity code?

brett mathews | 4th August 2018

LONDON – A UK tech business has told Apparel Insider it is confident its futuristic textile recycling technology will be able to demonstrate cost effectiveness at scale. It is claimed that Worn Again’s technology can take used polyester, cotton or a blend of the two, put then through its patented chemical recycling process, and provide virgin equivalent PET resin and/or cellulosic pulp equivalent to that of dissolving wood pulp. Perhaps most significantly, the outputs compare with their virgin equivalents in terms of quality and, it is claimed, will be price competitive once commercialised.

Worn Again, which has been around for several years – and at one point appeared to have slipped off the textile recycling radar – says it has now hit its £5 million investment target to accelerate its polymer recycling technology.

Asked about its work, CEO, Cyndi Rhoades told us: “Central to the original design brief for the chemistry and process behind our technology is the need for it to be able to deliver outputs which compare in quality and compete in price with virgin equivalent raw materials, once industrialised. This goal has remained the driving force behind our developments.

“We have no interest in producing premium price outputs which remain a niche market and more expensive than virgin prices. The industry is crying out for one thing: textiles to textiles raw materials recycling solutions that can deliver cost competitive ‘circular’ raw materials to go into clothing and apparel. We have been working closely with the industry from very early on and have understood this to be an essential parameter, unlike other costly processes in the past which have not succeeded in creating a real and competitive alternative to virgin raw materials.”

Asked about timescale, Rhoades told us: “Now that Worn Again Technologies has reached its latest investment milestone, this funding will enable the completion of developments. The first industrial demonstration plant will be launched in 2021 with full commercialisation to follow soon after.”

A fuller interview will appear with Cyndi Rhoades in the next printed edition of Apparel Insider.

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