Scientists are demonstrating new technology to convert discarded cotton clothing into materials for new, high-quality clothing.

According tomedia New Atlas, the waste in the fashion and clothing industries is huge, not just because of items that have been discarded several times, but because of the latest trends. Recycling of cotton garments is a tricky task, which means that items such as jeans and shirts tend to be broken, rather than being broken down and reused as high-quality clothing. However, a new breakthrough could overcome the problem, with scientists demonstrating a new technique that could restore clothes to fiber-friendly forms for mass manufacturing.

Scientists are demonstrating new technology to convert discarded cotton clothing into materials for new, high-quality clothing.

Recycling of clothing items such as trousers, trousers and shirts is so difficult because they are usually made of mixed fibers. For example, a garment may include polyester, elastic fibers (spandex) or other chemical fibers, and finding the right ingredients from these cluttered materials is not easy.

The team focused on an artificial fiber called viscose fiber. These fibers are usually made of lignocellulose, which acts as a “pulp” starting material, dissolved in a solution and then woven into recycled cellulose fibers. But a team of scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymers has been working with swedish company re:newcell to study more environmentally friendly start-up materials.

“Re:newcell sent us cellulose sheets made from recycled cotton and asked us to see if they could be converted into viscose rayon fibers,” said Andr? Lehmann, a scientist at the institute. We are able to extract isofibers from pulp by setting the correct parameters for the dissolution and spinning process, for example, through an effective filtration phase. “

From the cellulose sheets that recycle cotton, the team was able to produce yarns for miles, made of 100% cellulose, of the same quality as those made from lignocellulose. Crucially, the team says the technology is compatible with standard procedures for producing viscose rayon, suggesting that it can be integrated into these processes as a way to give new life to discarded cotton clothing.

“Cotton clothes are usually burned or eventually landfilled,” Lehmann said. “Now it can be recycled multiple times to make a greater contribution to the sustainability of the fashion world. This will also broaden the textile industry to produce pulp raw materials source base. The starting material for viscose rayon fibers has always been wood-based cellulose. By optimizing the separation process and strengthening the filtration of isofibers in the spinning process, we will eventually be able to establish recycled natural cotton fibers as a serious alternative source of cellulose and basic raw materials. “