Research Institute Worn Again Technologies has confirmed that it has hit £5 million investment target to accelerate it’s polymer recycling technology. After more than 6 years of R&D in the labs, Worn Again is finally coming out and bringing its patented technology to the market. In the light of the rising plastic marine pollution problem Worn Again is the lead to solve the plastic crisis as well as the growing problem of textiles waste in landfills.
According to their press release Worn Again Technologies’ “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". This process is impressive not only due to the fact that both polymers are separated but also because two end products can be produced that are both comparable in quality and can be competitive in price to virgin resources.
Worn Again is an example of establishing a circular fashion, waste-free industry. Currently less than 1% of non-wearable textiles are turned back to new textiles while 100 billion items of clothing gets produced globally, half ends up in landfills. As for the plastic approximately 288 million tons of plastic are produced annually, 50 million tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans every year. The Un Secretary-General Antonio Guterres even stated on Ocean Day that if the present trends continue then by 2050 there will be more plastic on our oceans than fish. “The solution to the world’s plastics problem is not to stop using plastic altogether. We have a solution to address the burgeoning need for recycling non-rewearable textiles and plastics and we’ve been clamouring to get on with it for many years. This investment, combined with the increasing geopolitical awareness of the need for this technology, is enabling us to push through the scale-up and validation work to reach the market on an accelerated timescale.”- stated Cambridge PhD and Worn Again Technologies Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Adam Walker. Angel Investor and Chairman Craig Cohon said that it was a challenge as everyone in the industry was waiting for someone else to take the lead but fortunately they have found their group of pioneers that have pushed their innovation to the market.
The FTL portfolio company was backed up by fashion retailer H&M, new partners including Sulzer Chemtech, one of the world’s largest chemical engineering companies; Mexico based Himes Corporation, a garment manufacturer; Directex, a textiles producer. The combined investment and support enables the optimisation phase of the technology in the lab as well as industrial trials, scaling and designing of the industrial process with Sulzer Chemtech. These crucial steps will finalise developments to the point at which the technology is complete and ready for commercialisation. Worn Again Technologies has also partnered with Qvartz, a management consultancy firm with Nordic roots and global reach, to support its direction setting, partnership development and commercialisation model.
Worn Again is now preparing to the launching of the first industrial demonstration plant in 2021.