Industry meets AACHEN University

From mixed waste to recycling feedstock – automated sorting and pre-processing of post-consumer textiles

Sensor-based sorting, particularly near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy, can identify different textile material compositions, enabling high-quality recycling. Integrated processes of sorting and mechanical pre-processing are crucial for achieving economic and environmental sustainability.

Saal A
Freitag, 15.09.2023, 10:15 - 10:40 Uhr
Amrei Becker, RWTH Aachen, Aachen (GER)
Malte Althaus, TOMRA Sorting GmbH, Mülheim-Kärlich (GER)

While new recycling technologies are being developed and already built in a pilot scale, textile waste stream compositions remain complex. Sensor-based sorting can distinguish between different textile material compositions, colours, and other properties. In particular, near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy can be used to detect different textile material compositions. Results of experimental NIR trials in lab- and technical scale trials are presented in this talk. The study considers different fibre types and coatings as well as other impurities. Turning post-consumer textiles into an input for high-quality recycling needs integrated processes of both sorting and mechanical pre-processing. In addition, the appropriate matching of waste stream and recycling process is important from an economic and environmental point of view.