Work starts on plant to recycle blended fibres

Simon Glover

Aug 16, 2021

Australian start-up BlockTexx has begun work on what it claims will the the first textile recycling plant capable of separating and recycling blends of cotton and polyester fibres at scale.

LOGAN - Australian start-up BlockTexx has begun work on what it claims will the the first textile recycling plant capable of separating and recycling blends of cotton and polyester fibres at scale.

The company has acquired a site at Logan, Queensland, and is now working on the final design for the plant, with the process of ordering plant equipment for the site already underway.

BlockTexx says production will begin early next year, using the company's proprietary Separation of Fibre Technology (SOFT) solution, at the plant which will recycle around 4,000 tonnes of textiles in its first year.

The company is working with Queensland engineering and construction company Wiley on the plant which it says will produce more than 50,000 tonnes of recycled textiles - which might otherwise have ended up in landfill - over the next four years.

Other players, such as Lenzing, Sodra and Worn Again, are also working to separate and recycle blended fibres but BlockTexx believes it will be the first to achieve this commercially at scale.

BlockTexx co-founder Graham Ross said: "BlockTexx is now scaling our textile resource recovery technology. The SOFT is a commercial scale solution to eradicate textile waste and breaking down no-longer needed clothing and textiles.

"We are excited to work with Wiley on the development of our first commercial scale facility. Wiley has more than 100 years of experience in process engineering solutions, which means they were an obvious choice to work with us on this vital project.

“Designing the facility has been an engineering challenge for all involved. We have needed to pull knowledge from across Wiley's organisation using learnings of the past to build a future circular economy operation.

“Wiley have been with us since the early design concepts, and we are pleased that they will be right next to us as we open the doors to our first facility later this year.”

Wiley’s CEO Robert Barron commented: “Our core values are about creating a better future through smart and practical design solutions and when we heard about what BlockTexx were trying to achieve with this new process, we wanted to be a part of it.

“We love a challenge and collaborating to create Australia’s first textile recycling facility certainly sits in that bucket. This project aligns with our goals to work with clients on sustainable projects that make a difference in the world.

“Our team has been able to draw on their experience in manufacturing across many other sectors to bring a wealth of knowledge that has allowed Wiley to help BlockTexx meet their goals. We can’t wait to see how this facility makes a difference.”

BlockTexx recently undertook a Series A capital funding round of AU$5.5 million, featuring a mix of private investment, grant funds from three tiers of Government injection, including nearly AU$1 million from the national government, and support from seed investors.