Textile Recycling in Finland

In October last year, the company Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto Oy (LSJH) has launched a refinement plant pilot in Turku, focusing on the recycling of post-consumer textiles.

The objective is to ensure a recycling solution for all the end-of-life textiles generated in Finland. The refinement plant project has been prepared in cooperation with other Finnish municipal waste management companies and the national Telaketju network. One of the key development targets in the plant project has been to ensure high-quality sorting based on fiber composition. LSJH has been developing the near-infrared (NIR) identification technology in cooperation with the Lahti University of Applied Sciences (LUAS) and the equipment supplier, Spectral Engines.

At the plant, the end-of-life textiles collected from private households will be mechanically processed by opening up the fabrics to create recycled fiber. The goal of the pilot stage is to ensure that the fiber produced can be utilized on a larger industrial scale, the information on the Telaketju homepage says. “The future goal is to set up a full-scale refinement plant, which will have the capacity to process all the post-consumer textiles in Finland, offer processing services for the industrial side flows and textile waste, as well as potentially receive and process end-of-life textiles from the Baltic Sea region.” During the pilot stage, the intention is to proceed from manual sorting towards an automated identification line, which would enable the processing of larger volumes of end-of-life textile flows.

The refinement plant project involves many industrial cooperation partners, which have actively engaged in the Telaketju network. The close product development cooperation with numerous textile companies has the support of the national Telaketju 2 project, launched last year. Financing for the refinement plant development is being provided by Finnish municipal waste management companies and by the Ministry of Employment and Economy. The pilot plant was granted 1.5 million Euros in investment aid by Business Finland.

About Telaketju
The “Telaketju” name is short from textile recycling, sorting, and utilizing network, in Finnish. The project includes developing the collection, sorting out, and refining processes of end-of-life textiles. Moreover, it enables the development of business models related to the circular economy. “In Telaketju, a national ecosystem of knowledge is being advanced, building a platform for the creation of a new and strong industry with multidisciplinary collaboration.”

The first phase of the Telaketju project started in April 2017 and ended in January 2019. The second phase began in May 2019. Telaketju 2 aims at building a business from the circular economy of textiles. The scope of the project includes novel circular economy business models aiming for better material efficiency and increase material and product life, as well as business-related to textile recycling. The project is composed of five company projects and parallels a public research project carried out by VTT Technical Centre of Finland Ltd., Turku, and Lahti Universities of Applied Sciences, and funded by Business Finland and 26 companies and other organizations.


(GR22020, Page 31, Photo: Bits and Splits / fotolia.com)