NTG just opened Scandinavia’s first R&D facility for mechanical textile-to-textile recycling

The Norwegian facility uses a patented cutting technology and unique textile defibering methods instead of shredding the textiles.
January 08, 2024

Norsk Tekstilgjenvinning (NTG) is a new recycling facility and research centre for mechanical recycling of textiles, situated in Sandefjord, Norway. The main goal of this R&D (research and demonstration) plant is textile-to-textile recycling — closed loop mechanical recycling of textiles to fibres suitable for the textile industry. 

— Our research project aims to achieve spinning quality fibres from all types of blended textiles, as well as pure qualities — both synthetic, animal, and natural fibres, Pål Erik Haraldsen, CEO, explains. We are especially focusing on blends such as polycotton textiles commonly used in sectors such as healthcare and hotel industry. Textiles from these industries are mostly not reused or recycled today, and are instead incinerated. The capacity of the R&D facility is around 2,000 tons per year and we are in parallel planning full-scale facilities with a shared capacity around 30,000 tons a year.

Pål Erik Haraldsen.

”NTG is planning for one or more full scale facilities within 5 years”

The Scandinavian region now sees the opening of several new recycling facilities. Yet, NTG’s Sandefjord plant is standing out.

— We do not know about any similar mechanical textile recycling facilities in Scandinavia. There are chemical recycling facilities — however, chemical recycling is a very different process from mechanical recycling. Mechanical recycling is an environmental friendly process due to low energy consumption and no use of water or polluting chemicals, Haraldsen shares. He continues:

— Our facility is unique compared to other mechanical recycling facilities today due to a patented cutting technology and our textile defibering methods. Other facilities using conventional recycling technologies are shredding the textiles. For most textiles, and especially blends, this conventional process results in lower quality fibres that are more suitable for open loop applications such as nonwovens rather than textile production. Our facility is uniquely assembled for producing high quality fibres suitable for the textile industry.

— NTG is planning for one or more full scale facilities within 5 years.

What’s your view on the expected coming EU regulations? And how will they affect you?

— We will support them. In our research project we are looking on research questions such as how we can ensure traceability through our value chain, and how and what information should be provided for our recycled textile fibres to customers such as textile producers. We are also planning on certifying our fibres, where the Global Recycled Standard is most important.

— We need to recycle the textiles that cannot be reused, and promote the use of recycled fibres in the fashion industry. We are in dialogue with several well-known brands regarding the delivery of our fibre for their textile production, Haraldsen concludes.

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