New life for old clothes

A Swiss university is teaming up with Texaid to develop new methods for reusing old textiles. They could be turned into carpets or noise insulation to close the textile cycle further.

Texaid collects some 37,000 tons of old clothes in Switzerland every year, of which around 30% are in a condition too poor to be worn again as second-hand clothing. This tendency is only likely to increase as the trend of cheap clothing produced cheaply continues to grow.

Thanks to a partnership between Texaid and Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, these clothes could soon be destined for other futures. The two have joined forces to develop methods to spin the old clothing at spinning mill in Switzerland into a coarse yarn that is suitable for making carpets. The first prototypes are promising, according to a statement announcing the project.

Sound insulation is another potential outlet for the old fabric. Design and materials researchers at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts are currently developing methods to work short fibers and even the dust when fabrics are torn into insulation for interiors and facades. This is not without its challenges, however. Construction products for architecture must meet strict technical criteria, such as being non-toxic and non-flammable.

A further project could develop ways to create fine yarns from old textiles, which could be used to make new clothes.

Image credit: Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts

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