Every year, millions of items of clothing are donated to Christian charity The Salvation Army, but pieces are often damaged and not available for resale. New technology, however, is being used to recycle polyester clothing.
The Salvation Army Pioneers New Clothes Recycling Scheme
The charity has teamed up with Project Re:claim on the system, which is said to be the first of its kind. Based on plastic bottle recycling, the technology is being installed at The Salvation Army’s processing centre in Kettering this September. It works by turning recycled polyester textiles back into raw material, turning it into pellets which can be used to make new garments.
Majonne Frost, head of environment and sustainability at the Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd (SATCoL), said: ‘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.
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‘With this new technology we can give these clothes a new lease of life. 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.
‘There are always items which are too damaged and we cannot resell, and they are often garments made from polyester. This is the future of fashion.’
The new system is predicted to recycle around 2,500 tonnes in its first year, increasing to 5,000 tonnes in year two.
Currently, a lot of the UK’s polyester waste is incinerated or sent to landfill.
Tim Cross, CEO at Project Plan B, said: ‘We need a seismic change in how garments are designed and produced. Polyester textile recycling is one of the biggest opportunities to reduce the harmful impact of producing garments and this new technology is the first proven commercial scale system that has been designed to cope with the challenges of recycling post-consumer clothing.’
Find your nearest store at salvationarmy.org.uk