Fashion-tech Special
Recycling company Sysav uses near-infrared light to sort and re-use ”basically any type of fibre”
The Swedish recycling centre’s technology can sort any kind of textile fibre both quickly and accurately.
8 Jun 2022

Recycling and treating waste from households and industries in Skåne in southern Sweden since 1974, Sysav handles close to a million tonnes per year and has a long history of finding new methods and techniques. The company’s textile sorting facility, Siptex, is a result of a major research project together with partners in the whole value chain, says Stefan Poldrugac, business developer.

— It offers high-speed sorting of textile waste by fibre type using near-infrared (NIR) light and is the world’s first large-scale facility of its kind. The technique is not unique, but we’re the first to use it on textiles. The NIR scans the surface of garments and generates a spectrum telling the composition of the material. This allows sorting of basically any type of fibre, it’s very fast and very accurate, with the exception of multiple layered garments, such as jackets. Many recycling techniques are scaling up and we can provide customised feedstock in large volumes — the link that has been missing.

The company also offers ReFab, ­quality-assured recycling products with guaranteed fibre composition, adapted for various recycling processes, such as cotton, polyester, and acrylic. 

— We had a year with a lot of testing for different types of customers. 2021 was the first year of operation and we aim to have a full capacity of 24,000 tonnes in the next coming years. This year we will ramp up production considerably. We have several customers for our outgoing products, both cotton-based and synthetic ones, delivering coloured cotton for high-quality recycling to our partner Renewcell and polyester to sportswear chain Stadium. The market for recycled synthetic fibres is not as developed as for cotton, which makes that particular collaboration extra exciting, says Poldrugac.