Camira partners with UKFT on £4m recycling project to combat textile waste

Global textile manufacturer of contract and transport fabrics, Camira has partnered with UKFT, Britain’s largest textile network to lead a £4 million project that will divert thousands of tonnes of waste from landfill each year.

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Autosort for Circular Textiles Demonstrator (ACT UK) is a two-year project which will see Camira, alongside a consortium of recycling technologies, textile collectors, academia, textile manufacturers and retailers including Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Pangaia and New Look, develop to pilot a pioneering, fully integrated, automated sorting, and pre-processing plant for waste textiles.

Globally, the textiles industry is responsible for more than 90 million tonnes of waste each year. Using optical scanning, robotics and AI, the project will overcome barriers to textile circularity, and support the transition from uneconomical manual sorting of textiles to highly automated pre-processing. 

“ACT UK will be instrumental in making an impact in the textiles industry and Camira is committed to advancing the work towards a more circular economy. More than one million tonnes of used textiles are generated annually in the UK and a third of these are unsuitable for resale, resulting in the majority being put into landfill or incineration. The ACT UK approach will allow us to combine existing and new technologies to generate huge volumes of material which can then be used for existing and emerging recycling processes.” Ian Burn, director of marketing and sustainability at Camira

ACT UK is funded by the Circular Fashion Programme by Innovate UK, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), all part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

“What happens to our textiles when we no longer need them is a growing problem that we cannot ignore. With this ground-breaking project, we’re aiming to create a model to sort and prepare NRT for recycling in a way that’s never been done before, at scale. A national system of recycling plants could save 100,000s of tonnes of material from entering landfill. In turn, the system could generate huge volumes of material for use across the UK textile manufacturing sector.” Adam Mansell, CEO of UKFT

The news follows the launch of a new recycled wool fabric which Camira introduced in May this year. Developed at Camira’s manufacturing sites, using a state-of-the-art wool textile reprocessing machine, Camira Revolution is a closed loop textile, created using waste wool yarn from the business’s own manufacturing processes.

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About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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