First phase of Telaketju project reveals promising market potential for circular textiles in Finland

Source: VTT Research


COLLECTORS project partner VTT, together with five other Finnish collaborators (Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto, the Turku University of Applied Sciences, the Lahti University of Applied Sciences, the Economic Affairs Ministry and the Employment and the Regional Council of Southwest Finland) have completed the first phase of the Telaketju project, according to a press release published on 15 May. Launched in 2017, the project focuses on creating a business value chain related to the recycling, sorting and use of end-of-life textiles in Finland.

To wrap up the findings of the first phase of the project, the partners published a report that analyses the market for circular textiles in the Nordic country. Preliminary findings place the market potential for the mechanical recycling of textiles at between EUR60 million and EUR120 million. Furthermore, the activity would create between 150 and 300 jobs. In order to reach its market potential, however, some EUR20-30 million in investment would be necessary. Finland produces an estimated 70,000-100,000 tonnes of textile waste per year and consumes some 13 to 18 kg of textile waste per capita annually.

VTT senior scientist Pirjo Heikkilä explained that “the European’s Union requirement to arrange separate collection of textile waste by 2025 made it necessary for Finland to build up the system for recycling of textiles. In addition, a large number of companies is interested in novel circular economy business models that promote the reuse of textiles.”

The focus of the research conducted within Telaketju has been the development of the process stages of recycling and finding new uses for the different textile fractions. VTT’s foam laying pilot was used for testing different recycled textile fractions in the manufacturing of nonwoven fabric. Furthermore, a new type of extruder was used to produce a material suited for composites from textile products containing different fibres, such as pillows.

The second phase of the project is currently in the planning stages. Its goal will be to continue building a textile ecosystem by engaging both private companies and public research institutes.

Source: VTT Research