TCKT: Mixed Textiles in the Loop

Apart from the efforts being made to collect and sort them, recycling textiles presents another major challenge: mixed textiles. Mixed textiles consist of various different types of fibres. These cannot be efficiently recycled with current technologies. What are needed are innovative technologies that go far beyond the state of the art.

This is where the “EnzATex” project comes in. The title stands for enzymatic processing and recycling of waste textiles. The aim is to break down mixed fabrics into their constituent parts using enzymes. The technical term for the heart of this process is “enzymatic hydrolysis”. In this, the components present in small amounts are separated from the mix of fibres. This makes it possible to recover the residual polymer and process it into a fibre that can be recycled.

To ensure that this complex process can take place efficiently in future, the project partners cover the entire value chain – from the collection and sorting of textiles to their disintegration and processing, recycling, production of fibres and textiles and finishing. Alongside companies such as LAVU, i-RED, EREMA, Lenzing, IFG Asota, Linz Textil, LAVI and TIGER several research centres from the UAR Innovation Network are also working on the project: TCKT, Wood K plus and PROFACTOR.