QUT researchers have found a treatment to extract and reuse polyester from polyester/wool mix fabrics to help prevent some of the 92 million tonnes of textiles dumped every year going to landfill.
Professor Robert Speight and Dr Laura Navone found that a commercial enzyme dissolves wool fibres from polyester and wool mix fabrics, without damaging the polyester strands.
“Recycled polyester is a valuable tradable commodity,” Professor Speight, from QUT’s Institute for Future Environments and the Science and Engineering Faculty.
“The polyester extracted from fabric can be made into polyester chips and turned into anything from yarn for new textiles to playground equipment.
“The value of recycled polyester has gone up significantly and gives clothing manufacturers a massive marketing advantage to be able to claim recycled material.
“Adidas, for example, has committed to using only recycled plastic by 2024 which includes polyester – contributing to the demand for recycled polyester.”
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