Polymer recycling technology firm Worn Again Technologies has 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.

The UK firm is developing polymer recycling processes that will enable raw materials in textiles and polyester packaging to be kept in constant circulation. Its 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 go back into new products as part of a repeatable process.

Worn Again says the new funding is a "vote of confidence" in its technology and proposed circular licensing business model.

The investment provides over two years of operating capital and will be used to accelerate and complete the company's technology development through the R&D phase. It will also provide the base financing required in the next phase of bringing the technology to market.

Through these ongoing strategic partnerships, Worn Again Technologies says it will benefit from the expertise of H&M Group's supply chain and consumer-facing business, as well as the manufacturing and industrial capabilities of Sulzer Chemtech.

"It is a pivotal time for H&M, Sulzer, and others to be investing in Worn Again Technologies. It shows that global industry leaders are behind our company's unique technology which can replace the use of virgin resources by recapturing raw materials from non-reusable products. The investment is a considerable step forward in building momentum for Worn Again's technology for the emerging circular economy," says recently appointed Worn Again Technologies CEO, Keith Wiggins.

The news comes after the firm launched its pilot R&D facility in January. The pilot, based in Redcar in the UK, will be used to develop further process data, knowledge and understanding to enable the business to set the technical parameters and scale the engineering design, as a step to industrialisation.

In addition to technology development, work is also currently underway with end-of-use textile owners on the WA-Feedstock Specification, and engaging other potential stakeholders in preparation for the next phase of development which will focus on a larger demonstration facility, expected in 2021.