Accelerating Circularity Europe (ACE) is a nonprofit association that aims to create new supply chains and business models to turn textile waste into mainstream raw materials.
Its mission is to design and implement commercial systems in which textile waste is repurposed as raw material through reuse and recycling, and therefore ensure that they are not incinerated or sent to landfills.
In 2021 the association has been working with its European Steering Committee, Spent Textile, and Brand & Retailer Working Groups to research, map, and identify expertise and infrastructure to accelerate the move to circular systems in order to recycle polyester fibers.
This work is now complete, and the next step the association aims to reach is to move into the trial phases to demonstrate how such research can be scaled. The first trials will focus on post-consumer and post-industrial polyester textiles feedstocks. These will be the sources for both mechanically and chemically recycled fibers.
“According to the EU Commission Strategy, by 2030, textile products placed on the EU market will be long-lived and recyclable, to a great extent made of recycled fibers,” shared Karla Magruder, ACE’s founder and president. “The circular textiles' ecosystem will be thriving, driven by sufficient capacities for innovative fiber-to-fiber recycling, while the incineration and landfilling of textiles will be reduced to the minimum. ACE’s trials are completely aligned with this strategy.”
“Our work has been based on collaborative efforts of more than 80 members of our working groups representing all levels of the value chain from the EU-27 plus members from Norway, Switzerland, UK, Morocco, and Turkey,” Magruder added. “Our goal with the textile-to-textile polyester trials is to demonstrate circular systems at scale, so our participants will be able to really demonstrate the feasibility.”
ACE’s system trials for polyester include these partners, among others: Amazon, Avery Dennison, European Outdoor Group, Jack Wolfskin, Oberalp, Recyclatex Group, Reverse Resources, Sympatex, Vaude, WWF and Zalando.
In addition to the polyester trials, ACE is planning a range of cellulosic trials of mechanically and chemically recycled cotton for circular knits and woven items with their partners of Recover, Lenzing (Refibra) and Inditex, among many others from the value chain.