Source Fashion, which takes place from 16-18 July at Olympia London will showcase Project Re:claim, a commercial-scale, post-consumer polyester recycling plant, claimed to be the first of its kind, that has been developed under a joint venture between corporate wear specialists Project Plan B and Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd (SATCoL), the trading arm of the charity.

Visitors to Source Fashion will be able to discover how polyester textiles have been successfully recycled back into raw material during a live seminar on the new technology on Monday 17 July by Charlene Bent, marketing manager and Majonne Frost, head of sustainability from SATCoL who will be discussing its possibilities and game-changing impact for the fashion industry.

Project Plan B developed the exclusive polyester recycling system which is based on plastic bottle recycling. The Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd (SATCoL) will install the machine at their Processing Centre based in Kettering in September, which already sorts and processes around 65,000 tonnes of donated textiles every year.

Suzanne Ellingham, director of sourcing at Source Fashion says: “The fashion industry is increasingly embracing second life, reuse, recycling, and circular economy practices but polyester recycling has remained one of the biggest challenges in recycling post-consumer clothing. We are very excited to offer SATCoL a global platform at Source Fashion to launch Project Re:claim’s groundbreaking technology.”

The new plant will recycle around 2,500 tonnes in its first year, rising to 5,000 tonnes in year two, and aims to recycle polyester that has come to the end of its useful life. The technology creates polyester pellets and has successfully produced the first yarn from these.

Majonne Frost, head of environment and sustainability at SATCoL says, “Last year SATCoL enabled reuse and recycling of over 250 million products but there are always items which are too damaged and we cannot resell and they are often garments made from polyester. With this new technology we can give these clothes a new lease of life. So when your favourite jumper is worn out, we will take it and turn it into polyester pellets, ready to be turned back into a new jumper. This is the future of fashion.”

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SATCoL already has the UK’s only automated textile sorting facility, Fibersort. Based at the charity’s purpose-built processing centre in Kettering, Fibersort automatically identifies and sorts second-hand textiles by fibre type and is the first step in textile-to-textile recycling. SATCoL describes this technology as the next step towards its ambition to create the UK’s first fibre farm, with the aim of massively scaling up textile-to-textile recycling of all types of materials.