Worn Again Technologies says the new plant represents a crucial step towards upscaling and commercialising its recycling process technology for the textile and apparel industry.

The plant will be built and operated by the UK firm and will be constructed near to one of its technology partners, Sulzer Chemtech, in Winterthur, Switzerland. 

The company hopes its new industrial-scale infrastructure will help validate the closed-loop chemical recycling solution that it has developed alongside strategic partners. 

The process obtains polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and cellulose from non-reusable, hard-to-recycle textiles that constitute post-industrial and post-consumer waste. The Worn Again Technologies process purifies the products by removing dyes, contaminants and impurities, a step forward from traditional recycling methods, it says, and as such, delivers high-quality, virgin-like materials that can be reintroduced into supply chains to become new fibres, textiles and other products. 

Erik Koep, CEO at Worn Again Technologies, says, “The construction and operation of this demonstration plant are the next major milestones in achieving our vision for textile circularity. We look forward to starting operations soon and see this as the first plant in a global network of processing facilities.” 

Torsten Wintergerste, chairman of Worn Again Technologies, adds: “We are delighted to see our technologies being leveraged to create a state-of-the-art textile recycling plant. Building it in Switzerland gives Worn Again Technologies direct access to Sulzer Chemtech’s global R&D facilities and the Swiss textile industry. We will build an ecosystem of partners around this demo plant and drive forward the creation of a circular economy of textiles. Switzerland is an ideal location for Worn Again to realise the demonstration plant with all stakeholders in the shortest time period possible.” 

In 2020, Worn Again Technologies secured up to EUR8m (US$9m) in new equity capital from investors, including follow-on commitments from two of its existing strategic investors, H&M Group and Sulzer Chemtech.