Trials called for to test recovery potential of ‘difficult’ textiles

Local schemes could offer potential recovery solutions for stuffing materials from bedding and furniture as the waste industry shifts its focus to tackling more challenging waste streams.

While there appears to be limited opportunity at present for the recycling of synthetic fibres, foams or natural feather and down, new research concludes that additional trials and more research could assess the commercial viability of implementing new recycling and collection schemes for these materials.

The study, published jointly by Axion Consulting and Zero Waste Scotland, identifies some of the main challenges that need to be overcome such as processing issues, securing end markets and the logistics of waste collections given Scotland’s broad geographical spread.

Textiles are a high priority within the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste Plan and the findings of this research will determine future development opportunities in collection, processing or manufacturing infrastructure.

Axion’s Project consultant Liz Morrish said the project would serve as a “stepping stone” in raising further awareness of these technologies and reprocessing options.

“Few opportunities exist to increase the reuse of stuffing materials beyond current systems. Established reprocessing options for post-industrial stuffing waste include the use of polyurethane for manufacturing reconstituted foam and making felt (shoddy) from polyester fibre,” she explained.

Morrish emphasised the need for greater understanding of the complexities of this waste stream and its processing requirements, particularly the hygiene perception issues surrounding post-consumer stuffing waste.

Maxine Perella

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