Millions of tons of textile waste are generated every year
The textile industry is today one of the largest industrial polluters and accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions. This is estimated to increase to 25% by 2050. s
The global production of apparel and other textile fiber materials amounted to more than 120 million tons annually in 2019.
A large amount of these textiles will currently end up as textile waste. Only 12% of all virgin textile fiber material is at present recycled.
To ensure a more circular economy and to reduce the environmental impact of the textile value chain we need to implement recycling of textile waste at a much greater scale.
Furthermore, a large part of textile wastes, such as worn or repeatedly recycled cellulose-based fiber textiles, cannot be used to produce regenerated textile fibers in a sustainable or economical manner.
That’s why we started ShareTex.
What happens to the discarded textiles?
More than 80% of all produced textiles are eventually disposed of as waste, while only approximately 20% are separated and sorted for recycling or reusing purposes.
Approximately 70% of the textiles discarded as waste are landfilled, while the rest are incinerated.
In the case of fabrics reclaimed for recycling/reusing, roughly half of them are recycled, 40% are sold as second-hand clothing and the remaining ends in waste streams.
There are many explanations for the low degree of recycling.
One of the major difficulties for the recycling of textiles has been the need to sort waste textiles by fabric type.
This is problematic as fiber blends are common in all sorts of textiles and efficient sorting and collection are still in its infancy.
An advantageous aspect of the ShareTex process is its ability to handle fiber blends (cellulosic, polyester, polyurethanes etc.).
However, mechanical and/or chemical sorting upstream the ShareTex process is always preferred.
ShareTex is part of a circular economic model.
We create new value from textile waste that has no or limited economic use.
Thereby, we contribute to the sustainability of the textile industry value chain and reduce its environmental impact.
The core of the ShareTex process is the conversion of low-quality recycled cotton or viscose into a pure cellulose or into renewable carbon fine chemicals
ShareTex targets the valorization of the cellulosic fractions in textile waste streams that cannot technically or commercially be effectively transformed into valuable products.
Instead, we transform them into a pure cellulose pulp, a sugar solution of glucose, or renewable chemicals such as 5-chloromethylfurfural (CMF) .
Sugar and CMF are platform chemicals that can be used for further conversion into numerous fine chemicals.
Although the most widely known sugar conversion process is fermentation into ethanol, there is a long range of other base chemicals that can be manufactured from textile waste-derived sugar.
Ultimately, these low carbon footprint chemicals can be used for various end products, both in the making of new textiles and advanced biofuels.
ShareTex has trademarks and a strong portfolio of patent and patent applications along the value chain from textile waste to end products.
How recycled, worn-out cellulosic fibers and fabrics are turned into something useful
The main step in the ShareTex process is a proprietary decrystallization step that allows to produce a pure cellulose pulp from cotton, viscose and other cellulose-based textile waste.
Thanks to this technology, we can use textiles that has been recycled several times as well as provide renewable chemicals for different applications.
Thus, the ShareTex process contributes towards increased sustainability in two value chains: the fashion and the chemical industries.
Integration of waste textile processing in pulp mills
ShareTex AB is also developing the possibility to integrate the production of dissolving pulp from textile waste within the operations of a pulp mill.
The process would provide high quality dissolving pulp from cellulose-based textiles and virgin wood, while reducing the capital and operational expenditures in comparison to existing textile recycling processes.
The lower costs arise from the symbiotic relationships between the processes in terms of energy, material flows and know-how.
The process will be based on co-processing both pulps, that derived from textiles and that obtained from virgin wood, in the bleaching plant.
Moreover, spent chemicals from the pulp mill operations can be used as pretreatment agents to make the textile waste more amenable to chemical or biochemical conversion.
On top of this, the energy required in the textile recycling process can be supplied with the excess heat available at the pulp mill.
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