London-based Worn Again Technologies has hit its 5 million pounds
investment target to accelerate its trail-blazing polymer recycling
technology, which aims to crack the code on the circularity of raw
materials for the textiles and apparel industry.
The cash injection has come from a number of investors, including global
fast-fashion giant H&M, and angel investor Craig Cohon, previously a senior
executive of The Coca Cola Company and owner of Cirque du Soleil Russia.
They were joined by new partners including Sulzer Chemtech, one of the
world’s largest chemical engineering companies, Mexico-based Himes
Corporation, a garment manufacturer, Directex, a textiles producer and
Miroslava Duma’s Future Tech Lab.
The combined investment and support will enable the optimisation phase
of the technology in the lab as well as industrial trials, scaling and
designing of the industrial process with Sulzer Chemtech, explained Worn
Again Technologies. In addition, the technology company has partnered with
Qvartz, a management consultancy firm to support its direction setting,
partnership development and commercialisation model.
In addition, the company is currently enlisting local, national and
global investors and strategic partners who want to be part of the rapid
expansion plan as it prepares for the first industrial demonstration plant
to be launched in 2021.
Worn Again Technologies, which was founded in East London in 2005, is
leading the charge to solve part of the world’s plastic crisis and the
growing problem of textiles waste to landfill. After more than six years of
intensive research and development, its patented dual polymer recycling
technology is coming out of the lab and being brought to market.
The patented process can separate, decontaminate and extract polyester
polymers and cellulose (from cotton) from non-reusable textiles, as well as
plastic bottles and packaging, to enable them to be fed back into new
products as part of a repeatable process.
The innovation not only enables the separation of both polyester and
cotton but also produces two end products that are both comparable in
quality and have the aim of being competitive in price to virgin resources.
The process saves energy and will accelerate the industry towards a
waste-free, circular resource world.
H&M among investors backing recycling trail-blazers Worn Again
Worn Again Technologies chief executive Cyndi Rhoades said in a press
release: “There are enough textiles and plastic bottles ‘above ground’ and
in circulation today to meet our annual demand for raw materials to make
new clothing and textiles.
“With our dual polymer recycling technology, there will be no need to
use virgin oil by-products to make new polyester and the industry will be
able to radically decrease the amount of virgin cotton going into clothing
by displacing it with new cellulose fibres recaptured from existing
Currently, less than 1 percent of non-wearable textiles are turned back
into new textiles due to technical and economic limitations of current
recycling methods. Worn Again Technologies can reprocess pure and blended
cotton and polyester textiles, which represents 80 percent of all clothing
and textiles, meaning its solution offers the potential to increase the
recycling of raw materials in textiles exponentially, with no price premium
to manufacturers, brands or the consumer.
Worn Again Technologies chief scientific officer, Dr. Adam Walker added:
“The solution to the world’s plastics problem is not to stop using plastic
altogether. We have a solution to address the burgeoning need for recycling
non-rewearable textiles and plastics and we’ve been clamouring to get on
with it for many years.
“This investment, combined with the increasing geopolitical awareness of
the need for this technology, is enabling us to push through the scale-up
and validation work to reach the market on an accelerated timescale.”
Last month, the company was awarded a grant to become the first chemical
recycling technology to be Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certified, which assesses
a product through five quality categories – material health, material
reutilisation, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship
and social fairness. The grant goes towards the official assessment process
of these categories by an independent assessor and certifies that the
product is being produced in licensed plants.
Images: courtesy of Worn Again Technologies