Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020 - 27

residues are incinerated, and heat and
electricity is produced," says Johannes
Bogren, vice president of Södra Cell
Bioproducts. "It's simple; 95 percent
of the machinery is already there."
For the moment, Södra is using postconsumer white textiles from laundries,
hospitals and hospitality to make
OnceMore. "The biggest challenge today
is a waste supply at a viable cost," Bogren
says. "Since no supply chain, no collection
or solutions are there, the cost is too high
today. Once that is solved, our technology
will be very competitive, so we need
legislation and more partners to also look
on that side of the business."
ADVANCED CIRCULAR
TECHNOLOGIES
With its long history in textile chemistry, it
is no surprise to see Eastman Chemical Co.
making strides in recycling. "Molecular
recycling is here and now," says Steve
Crawford, the company's senior VP/chief
technology/sustainability officer.
In 2019 the company introduced two
advanced circular recycling technologies:
polyester renewal technology (PRT), which
breaks down hard-to-recycle polyester waste
into basic polymer building blocks, and
carbon renewal technology (CRT), which
recycles complex and mixed plastic waste.
Eastman's PRT process creates virginlike polyesters that can be used to make
"durable products with less greenhouse
gas," such as CamelBak® and Nalgene®
water bottles, according to Crawford.
The PRT efforts are commercial today
with additional PRT technology scaling
up by the end of 2022.
Eastman has already recycled millions
of pounds of textile waste since late last
year. Circular Polymers, an Eastman
partner, transforms post-consumer carpet
waste into usable feedstock and sends it to
Kingsport, Tenn., where Eastman uses it to
make new materials for textiles and other
products via CRT.

One of these advanced materials is
Naia™, a cellulose acetate fiber primarily
used in apparel. At present, fossil fuels
are used to create syngas, needed to make
one of the main ingredients in Naia, but
gases derived from Eastman's CRT can be
substituted for these fossil fuels, resulting
in an acetate fiber that is produced from
60 percent certified wood fibers and 40
percent recycled waste plastics. The new
product, called Naia Renew, is set to be
launched this fall.
Eastman's integration of chemical
recycling, polymerization and fiber
spinning combines links of the textile
value chain under one roof. But one of
textile recycling's biggest challenges is
aggregating the materials for feedstock.
"We can't go to thousands of collection
points," says Crawford. "We need
partnerships to get to scale across the
industry. It's hard for one company
to make that happen."
Circular recycling of textiles holds
enormous potential for job creation and
economic output, but sourcing textile
waste to use for feedstock is one of the
industry's biggest challenges. True textileto-textile recycling requires support from
collectors and sorters, legislatures and
regulators, and suppliers and partners
up and down the value chain.
"Textile products ... carry embedded
value for consumers, and there is
increasing evidence of financial benefit
for brands and retailers to provide
opportunities for recovery and reuse," the
RRS report says. Industrial and specialty
textile manufacturers can choose to
participate in reclaiming that value.
Debra Cobb is a freelance writer with extensive
experience in the textiles industry. She is based
in Greensboro, N.C.

The biggest challenge
today is a waste supply
at a viable cost. Since
no supply chain, no
collection or solutions
are there, the cost is
too high today. Once
that is solved, our
technology will be
very competitive.
Johannes Bogren
Södra Cell Bioproducts

Södra OnceMore® technology creates
cellulose pulp from postconsumer white
goods. Photo: Södra Cell Bioproducts.

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Specialty Fabrics Review November 2020

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