Pleasant to wear, extremely unpleasant to recycle: elastane makes it difficult to reuse textiles. A solution has been found at TU Wien.

Clothing is far too valuable to simply dispose of and burn. Starting in 2025, used textiles are to be collected and recycled throughout the EU. Improved recycling processes are urgently needed to deal with the huge amount of textiles that will then be produced in an efficient and environmentally friendly way.

The recycling of mixed textiles is difficult – especially if they contain elastane. The TU Wien (Vienna) has therefore developed methods that not only detect elastane better and in a more environmentally friendly way than before, but can also separate it in a gentle way in order to recover other fibers undamaged at the same time. The key here is to find the right solvents.

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