Technical Absorbents
Techtextil Frankfurt

Free membership

Receive our weekly Newsletter
and set tailored daily news alerts.


Salvation Army plans polyester recycling

New plant in Kettering will recycle around 2,500 tons in its first year.

29th June 2023

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Kettering, United Kingdom

Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable

Project Re:claim, a UK joint venture between Plymouth-based corporate wear specialist Project Plan B and Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd (SATCoL) – the UK’s largest charity textile collector – plans to open the country’s first commercial-scale, post-consumer polyester recycling plant.

Project Plan B developed the polyester recycling system which is based on plastic bottle recycling and SATCoL will install the machine at one of its processing centres which already sort and process around 65,000 tons of donated textiles every year.

“We need a seismic change in how garments are designed and produced,” said Tim Cross, CEO at Project Plan B. “Polyester textile recycling is one of the biggest opportunities to reduce the harmful impact of producing garments and this new technology is the first proven commercial scale system that has been designed to cope with the challenges of recycling post-consumer clothing.”

This new plant will recycle around 2,500 tons in its first year, rising to 5,000 tons in Year 2, and aims to recycle polyester that has come to the end of its useful life. The technology creates polyester pellets and has already successfully produced the first yarns from these. 

“Last year SATCoL enabled the reuse and recycling of over 250 million products, but there are always items which are too damaged and we cannot resell and they are often garments made from polyester,” said Majonne Frost, head of environment and sustainability at SATCoL. “With this new technology we can give these clothes a new lease of life. This is the future of fashion.”

The new technology will be installed at SATCoL’s processing centre based in Kettering in September. To maximise the volume and potential of the polyester recycling, SATCoL cannot rely on clothing bank donations alone, so is searching for corporate partners to commit to donating 100% polyester.

 “Our vision is to enable companies to produce corporate wear and fashion garments using recycled polyester,” said Frost. “The incredible vision of Project Plan B has brought about the development of the technology, we have the infrastructure to collect donations at scale and we now need companies to step up. This is an opportunity for companies to make a commitment to significantly reducing their environmental impact. In preparation for full production, we are currently seeking 100% polyester textiles such as used hotel linen or post-event promotional banners.”

SATCoL already has the UK’s only automated textile sorting facility – Fibersort in Kettering, which automatically identifies and sorts second-hand textiles by fibre type and is the first step in textile-to-textile recycling. This additional new technology is the next step towards SATCoL’s ambition to create the UK’s first fibre farm, with the aim of massively scaling up textile-to-textile recycling of all types of materials.

Latest Reports

Business intelligence for the fibre, textiles and apparel industries: technologies, innovations, markets, investments, trade policy, sourcing, strategy...

Find out more