After two years of joint collaboration and research the Swiss Textile Recycling Project “Texcircle” comes to an end. Together with all partners and stakeholders, we have worked on the vision of a textile cluster where materials flow in circular loops. The goal of the project was to develop high-quality yarns and products incorporating such a large amount of recycled textiles as possible - and we succeeded! In the end, several product prototypes from carpets, socks, and curtains to pullovers, padding and accessories have been developed with at least 50 % recycled fiber up to 80 % recycled fibers and yarns.
The Start

Europe has a waste problem of 7.5 million waste of which only 30-35 % is collected and less than 1 % of the textile and clothing worldwide is recycled into textiles and clothing again. It is as well found that around 80 % of the impact of a textile product lies in the design.

With the design research expertise of the Lucerne University of Applied sciences and arts, the spinning expertise of Rieter and the sorting and collection expertise of Texaid, we wanted to see how we can create systems where products of high quality can be produced of recycled fiber. Therefore we took on board the expertise of the further Cluster partners of Brands, Retailers, and the public sector to see how we can create a joint Cluster and system.

The Project Texcircle and cluster is led by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts – Art & Design, and in collaboration with Coop, Rieter, Jacob Rohner AG, Ruckstuhl AG, TEXAID as well as workfashion.com ag. Furthermore, Bundesamt für Zivildienst ZIVI, NIKIN AG, and Tiger Liz Textiles are supporting the project. The project is funded by Innosuisse.

Furthermore, collaboration partners from all over Europe contributed to the project to enable these prototypes and systems.

The Results

Through joint developments from the design, the collecting, sorting trials, tearing, and spinning trials until the actual production trials and product testing. We were able to recycle 2.5 Tons of pre-and post-consumer textile waste into product prototypes with a promising commercial interest. From socks, west, and pullovers to non-woven felts and accessories to carpets and curtains. Through our 2 years of collaboration, we came across several hurdles in the textile recycling value chain which we could tackle. This was a proof of concept that a circular system is possible and we now have to enable this at full scale as an industry.

Martin Böschen, CEO TEXAID Group.

“This project was an important step for us to come closer to the realization of new products made out of post-consumer textile waste. We need innovations and collaborations like this to enable a circular textile industry. For TEXAID it was important learning to understand the hurdles in the sorting, pre-processing, and further processing steps, and are thrilled to see the first product porotypes with recycled content reach the market next year. ”

TEXAID TEXAID is circular service specialist for the fashion and textile industry. As European market leader dedicated to sustainability, TEXAID is an experienced global solution provider in professional collecting, sorting, repair, reselling and recycling of textiles and footwear.

With more than 40 years of experience, TEXAID processes more than 280M items (80.000 tons) annually. TEXAID’s operational presence spans Europe and North America, with more than 1,000 employees contributing daily to saving millions of textiles from landfill or incineration.

Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts – the university of applied sciences of Central Switzerland

The Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts is the university of applied sciences of the six Central Swiss cantons and comprises the Lucerne Schools of Engineering and Architecture, Business, Information Technology, Social Work, Art and Design, and Music. More than 8,300 students are working towards bachelor's or master's degrees here, while a further 5,200-plus are in continuing education. The Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts is the largest educational institution in Central Switzerland and employs 1,900 staff.