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New publication in Green Chemistry!

Have a look at our most recent publication on chemical disassembly of elastane fibres.

Abstract: The textile industry is ever-growing but only a few recycling options exist for waste fabrics to keep end-of-use clothing articles within the value chain. Generally, these include fibre-to-fibre strategies for pure textiles such as cotton or polyester. However, most textiles comprise blends of fibres which encumbers both mechanical and chemical recycling processes. For example, the polymer elastane is added to increase stretchability in many textiles, whereas polyurethane coatings and membranes partly make up rain clothes, bags and artificial leather items. Here we report the selective disassembly of these two polymers into base chemicals adapting a solvolysis process with tert-amyl alcohol. We showcase the successful depolymerisation of elastane recovered from the dissolution of fabric blends, and also the direct disassembly of elastane containing- or PU-coated textiles with polyamide fabrics. This work opens up new opportunities for the recycling of certain blended textiles.