Salvation Army unveils plans for polyester recycling plant

Posted on 3 July 2023

The Salvation Army has some exciting news! They’re spearheading a unique initiative to recycle used polyester clothing into handy pellets, ready to be turned into brand-new attire. This innovative venture, based in Kettering, Northamptonshire, is set to give the concept of ‘fashion recycling’ a whole new meaning, in an effort to curb clothing waste.

With over half a million tonnes of polyester textile waste generated in the UK annually, this is a much-needed step towards a greener future. Majonne Frost of Project Re:claim, part of the Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd (SATCoL), sees this as the future of fashion. She says, “When your favourite jumper is worn out, we will take it and turn it into polyester pellets, ready to be turned back into a new jumper”

Right now, much of our polyester waste ends up either incinerated or in landfill. But thanks to this fantastic partnership between SATCoL and Project Plan B, a company renowned for creating clothing from recycled materials, we might see a significant shift. The process involves turning donated clothes, which cannot be resold due to their condition, into reusable polyester pellets.

The recycling operation is housed at SATCoL’s facility in Kettering, which is home to Fibersort, an automated textile sorting system. Here, the incoming equipment from Project Plan B will work its magic to turn material into polyester pellets. These will then serve as the raw material for new textiles, and consequently, new garments. SATCoL is excited to be pioneering the UK’s first commercial-scale, post-consumer polyester recycling plant.

Tim Cross, the chief executive at Project Plan B, believes we need a “seismic change in how garments are designed and produced.” Recycling polyester textiles, according to him, offers a significant opportunity to diminish the negative environmental impact of garment production. The pellet producing operation is estimated to recycle about 2,500 tonnes in its first year and double that in the following year.

So, the next time you think about getting rid of your worn-out jumper, remember, the Salvation Army could give it a second life! Let’s embrace this new chapter of sustainable fashion together.

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