In the domain of sustainability, the textile and fashion industry ranks as the second-largest global polluter, surpassed only by the oil sector. Fifteen kilograms of textile waste is discarded per person annually in Europe, culminating in an overwhelming 7 billion kilograms of waste each year. Today, only 30% of this waste is collected, and a disappointing 1% is being prepared for fibre-to-fibre recycling. However, ambitious targets have been set for 2030: an increase to 50% for waste collection and to 18% for fibre-to-fibre recycling, according to the 2022 Euratex study, “Scaling textile recycling in Europe – Turning Waste into Value”. Purfi’s Soft Mechanical Recycling Technology is unique in the world and offers a solution to the current challenges.

This technology stands out not only because it recycles the fibres, but because it also rejuvenates them, i.e. restores them to parameters similar to virgin materials. The secret lies in the dismantling process, with machines stretching across a length of approximately 150 metres. This approach prevents the need for down-cycling, traditionally associated with older shredder technologies, enabling Purfi to go for full upcycling. These rejuvenated Purfi fibres can be reused to manufacture high-quality clothing. By sourcing from post-industrial waste, such as cutting waste from garment manufacturing, or post-consumer waste, including end-of-life garments, Purfi contributes to the reduction of textile waste and the creation of new fibres. This approach simultaneously reduces the reliance upon environmentally harmful virgin fibres.

Purfi’s first step in this journey is to process approximately 3,000,000 kilograms annually through its Belgian pilot line, an investment of more than 8 million euros. In the following three to five years, the company is planning to introduce two additional production lines in Belgium. The expansion will also include major textile-producing countries like India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, etc. Crucially, Purfi remains committed to local-for-local recycling and rejuvenation, ensuring that its impact is not only global but resonates at a local level, addressing the specific needs and challenges of each community.