Process for recycling of cotton garments produces multi-ton quantities for testing
By Scott Jenkins |
A process developed by Evrnu (Seattle, Wash.; www.evrnu.com) to regenerate cotton fibers from waste fabric and post-consumer garments has been used to produce ton quantities of recycled cotton fiber for testing. An economically viable process for recycling cotton would have the environmental benefits of drastically reducing the amount of landfilled or incinerated fabric, which currently totals millions of tons annually, while also reducing the amount of land and water required to grow the cotton plants.
Evrnu has developed an end-to-end process, known as NuCycl, that includes sorting fabrics to identify the types of fibers in the textile, shredding the textiles and removing the dyes and additives (diagram). The cotton then enters a reactor, where it is depolymerized, using a range of solvent blends and ionic liquids, to create a pulp that is finally extruded into new fiber.
“We’ve used a targeted innovation approach to deconstruct cotton textiles at the molecular level to create a range of regenerated cellulose fibers with different molecular weights that are stronger and more durable than the original fabrics,” says Christopher Stanev, co-founder of Evrnu. “The NuCycl process can be run with modest retrofitting at existing…