In late October we attended Shaking up Tech event in Finland to discuss with university and secondary level students about what kind of role Valmet is taking in the revolution of the textile industry. While most textile products still end up as waste, consumers all over the world are demanding more sustainable and ethical textiles. Students mainly belonging to generation Z have grown with the sustainable mindset and many asked us the relevant question; How can Valmet help the situation?
Earlier this year EU Commission proposed rules to make producers responsible for the full lifecycle of textile products and to support the sustainable management of textile waste across the EU. Currently, only 22% of post-consumer textile waste is collected separately for re-use or recycling, while the remainder is often incinerated or landfilled. And only 1 % of material in clothing is recycled into new clothing. By January 1st 2025, EU member states are required to set up separate collection for textiles. This requires also significant investments to develop new technological solutions to support the handling of the recycled textile.
In Valmet, we see that our proven solutions and know-how in fiber treatment can be adjusted to many evolving fiber-to-fiber textile recycling technologies. The value of piloting facilities and scale up capabilities is growing in the future, enabling both established and start-up companies to test and adjust their solutions and R&D projects through partnerships and co-development. Using existing technologies for fiber cooking and refining, where we have extensive know-how and industrial references, gives advantage for adapting new processes and equipment in different solutions.
Consumer awareness of the current state of the textile industry’s environmental impacts and the lack of fiber-to-fiber recycling of textile fibers is increasing rapidly. This supported by legislative and regulatory changes will speed up the development of textile fiber recycling. With already existing product portfolio, pilot facilities and strong process knowledge, we can support our existing and new partners to create new fiber-to-fiber textile recycling possibilities for the future.
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Pulp and paper technology expands to the new textile industry
The textile industry is increasingly interested in more sustainable cellulose-based textiles and textile recycling. Valmet sees significant business potential in the industry, as its technology and expertise are applicable to textile fiber processes.