A new project funded by FORMAS aims to attack the technical challenge of recycling polyurethane (PU) and polyester blended textile wastes. In this project, the polyester and PU will be chemically separated from a blended waste stream, and then both fractions will be depolymerised into monomers. The resulting monomers will be regenerated into their virgin polymers and used for textile applications, creating the possibility of closed-loop monomer recycling of this waste.
As an integral part of the project and consistent with the Swedish government’s goal of a non-toxic environment, chemical risk will be evaluated along with other environmental issues such as climate change and eutrophication potential for each step, using LCA. The prospects for a sustainable recycling process are good because the regeneration process avoids the highly toxic isocyanate compounds since environmentally friendly carbamates will be generated in the depolymerised process which can be used for PU synthesis.