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Fibers Unsorted: from waste to value

Previously unrecycleable clothing made into Fibers Unsorted textile

The mountain of textile waste isn’t solely an environmental eyesore, it’s a nearly inexhaustible material source for new beginnings.

Even though recycled fabrics have become more commonplace, textiles are difficult to recycle and the bulk of such waste goes into landfill.

Design studio Envisions team up with engineering company Imat-Uve to create a new textile, called Fibers Unsorted, is a technical fabric made from mixed-fibre clothing that would otherwise have gone to landfill. Instead, it is processed into a product that is durable and high-quality enough to be used in the automotive industry, among others.

+++ The Fibers Unsorted project aimed to develop a high-quality recycled textile durable enough to be used in the automotive industry +++

Working with several manufacturing partners and experts, Imat-Uve developed a method that involved treating the fibres carefully to keep them as long as possible with the aim of ending up with a comparable fibre length to virgin materials such as cotton.

In its process, almost all garments can be used, with only around 15 per cent of fibres being filtered out, usually because they are too short to make a quality yarn. A few fibres are not suitable for recycling at all, such as carbon fibre, which oxidises and causes problems in the machinery.