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Finland's VTT aims to turn cotton waste into new fibres

The new production technique, cellulose dissolution developed by VTT Technical Research Centre, Finland, the largest multidisciplinary research organisation in Northern Europe, is a part of a project launched by a group of Finnish organisations. This technique will be tried out at all stages of the value chain during 2015 and 2016. Old worn-out cotton clothing can be turned into new fibres for the textile industry by using this technique. Cellulose wet-spinning is due to begin at VTT's pop-up plant in Finland in October. Towards the end of 2016, the first clothing line made of the new recycled fibres will be out.

Both consumers and businesses are challenged by advancements in recycling technology are challenging both consumers and businesses. As of 2016, organic waste in the form of clothing may no longer be disposed off at landfills. Piloting and modelling a closed-loop ecosystem in line with the principles of circular economy, is the aim of the Circular Economy of Textiles (TEKI) project. This will form the basis of a new way to make industrial use of textile waste that cannot be reused.

For the TEKI project, VTT and Ethica have brought together a group Finnish organisations from different activities in the value chain. The organisations collectively aim at to promote the recycling of textiles while adding value to their business activities or creating new business. Ethica's role in the project is to research and model the potential of a closed-loop textile ecosystem more comprehensively. It also aims to gauge consumers’ interest in operating models that are based on the principles of circular economy and recycled materials. Besides, the aim of the project is also to study the technological requirements of dissolution-based recycling.