Södra’s breakthrough will enable large-scale textile recycling

At present, no one in the world can recycle fibres from blended fabrics on a large scale. Södra now has a unique solution that will enable circular flows in the fashion and textile industry.

“Only a negligible proportion of the global production of clothing and textiles is recycled today. Virtually everything is sent to landfill or incineration. But Swedish innovation and a willingness to help mitigate climate change can now influence the game at a global level,” said Lars Idermark, President and CEO of Södra.


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, which are one of the most widely used textiles on the market. The pure cotton fibres are then added to our wood-derived textile pulp, which can then be used to make new textiles.


“We are now redrawing the map for the fashion and textile industry by offering circular flows of textile fibres. A sweater can now become a sweater again. This will create added value for our customers, and especially the fashion industry. It’s a big day for us and an equally big day for the emerging circular bioeconomy,” said Johannes Bogren, President of Södra Cell Bioproducts.


During the autumn, Södra’s pulp mill at Mörrum produced pulp by adding 20 tonnes of used textiles. At present, Södra can only accept white textiles, but the aim is to also find a decolouring solution. The goal is also to investigate the possibility of extracting a stream of residual products from the polyester. Swedish laundry and textile service provider Berendsen delivered the test material used in the pilot project comprising end-of-life sheets, towels, tablecloths and bathrobes from hospitals and hotels.


“We will be able to accept viscose and lyocell in addition to polycotton blends. Due to the technological change in our processes, we will be needing large volumes of textiles. We are now seeking companies with high sustainability ambitions that would like to partner with us in the delivery of textiles,” said Helena Claesson, Project Manager, Södra.


Production will commence at a low rate of 30 tonnes this year, but the long-term target is to add 25,000 tonnes of textiles to the company’s pulp production.


Read more: https://oncemore.sodra.com/


For questions, please contact:
Södra’s Pressroom,
Tel: +46 (0)470 890 90
E-mail: press@sodra.com
 

Founded in 1938, Södra is Sweden’s largest forest-owner association, with 52,000 forest owners as its members. We conduct modern and responsible forestry, and operate state-of-the-art mills in which we process our raw material. In 2018, sales amounted to SEK 24 billion and employees totalled 3,100. Through value-generating relationships and a long-term approach, Södra shows the way for the next generation of forestry.

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Södra was founded in 1938 and is the largest forest-owner association in Sweden, with a membership of close to 52,000 forest owners. Södra is also an international forest industry Group, with 3,400 employees around the world. Net sales in 2017 were 20.5 SEK billion. Balancing production efficiency with nature conservation guides everything that we do. We produce timber, interior wood products, pulp for paper and textiles, and green energy. We use every part of the tree, and are always looking to develop new products from this fantastic, renewable raw material. Södra is a world-leading producer of market pulp and also owns one of the largest sawmill operations in Europe. Through value-generating relationships and a long-term approach, Södra is leading the way for the future of sustainable forestry.

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We are now redrawing the map for the fashion and textile industry by offering circular flows of textile fibres. A sweater can now become a sweater again. This will create added value for our customers, and especially the fashion industry. It’s a big day for us and an equally big day for the emerging circular bioeconomy.
Johannes Bogren, President of Södra Cell Bioproducts