The textile industry is today one of the largest industrial polluters and accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions. This is estimated to increase to 25% by 2050.
The global production of apparel and other textile fiber materials amounted to more than 120 million tons annually in 2019. A large amount of these textiles will currently end up as textile waste. Only 12% of all virgin textile fiber material is at present recycled.
To ensure a more circular economy and to reduce the environmental impact of the textile value chain we need to implement recycling of textile waste at a much greater scale. Furthermore, a large part of textile wastes, such as worn or repeatedly recycled cellulose-based fiber textiles, cannot be used to produce regenerated textile fibers in a sustainable or economical manner.
That’s why we started ShareTex.
More than 80% of all produced textiles are eventually disposed of as waste, while only approximately 20% are separated and sorted for recycling or reusing purposes.
Approximately 70% of the textiles discarded as waste are landfilled, while the rest are incinerated. In the case of fabrics reclaimed for recycling/reusing, roughly half of them are recycled, 40% are sold as second-hand clothing and the remaining ends in waste streams.
There are many explanations for the low degree of recycling. One of the major difficulties for the recycling of textiles has been the need to sort waste textiles by fabric type. This is problematic as fiber blends are common in all sorts of textiles and efficient sorting and collection are still in its infancy.
An advantageous aspect of the ShareTex process is its ability to handle fiber blends (cellulosic, polyester, polyurethanes etc.). However, mechanical and/or chemical sorting upstream the ShareTex process is always preferred.
Solutions & Products
ShareTex targets the valorization of the cellulosic fractions in textile waste streams that cannot technically or commercially be effectively transformed into valuable products. Instead, we transform them into a pure cellulose pulp, a sugar solution of glucose, or renewable chemicals such as 5-chloromethylfurfural (CMF) .
Sugar and CMF are platform chemicals that can be used for further conversion into numerous fine chemicals. Although the most widely known sugar conversion process is fermentation into ethanol, there is a long range of other base chemicals that can be manufactured from textile waste-derived sugar. Ultimately, these low carbon footprint chemicals can be used for various end products, both in the making of new textiles and advanced biofuels.
ShareTex has trademarks and a strong portfolio of patent and patent applications along the value chain from textile waste to end products.
Solutions & Products
Examples of final products
Pure Cellulose has many uses, for example as raw material for producing new textile fibers in personal care products, food products, bioplastics and many more. Pure cellulose derived from waste textiles can also be used for manufacturing derivatives such as cellulose ethers or dialcohol cellulose.
1-4 Butanediol is a primary alcohol, and an organic compound, with the formula HOCH2CH2CH2CH2OH. It is a colorless viscous liquid. 1,4-Butanediol is used industrially as a solvent and in the manufacture of some types of plastics, elastic fibers (e.g. Elastan and Spandex) and polyurethanes.
Caprolactam (CPL) is an organic compound with the formula (CH2)5C(O)NH. This colourless solid is a lactam (a cyclic amide) of caproic acid. Global demand for this compound is approximately five million tons per year, and the vast majority is used to make Nylon 6 filament, fiber (used in the production of carpets), and plastics
5-chloromethyl furfural (CMF) is a versatile raw material for many applications including polyethylene terephtalate (polyester) through precursor para-xylene (px), purified terephtalic acid (PTA) as well as numerous commodity and speciality chemicals including furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), surfactants, plasticizers and many more.
Ethanol has many uses and applications, including as a solvent, as a biofuel, and as a precursor for biobased polyethylene. Ethanol can efficiently be upgraded to aviation fuels by dehydration, oligomerization and hydrogenation.
The main step in the ShareTex process is a proprietary decrystallization step that allows to produce a pure cellulose pulp from cotton, viscose and other cellulose-based textile waste. Thanks to this technology, we can use textiles that has been recycled several times as well as provide renewable chemicals for different applications. Thus, the ShareTex process contributes towards increased sustainability in two value chains: the fashion and the chemical industries.
Associated researchers and consultants