Labs on Fibre Meet-Up: new collaboration for local non-reusable textile waste

Labs on Fibre Meet-Up; exploring new partnerships for local non-reusable textile waste streams. From sorter to recycler, one partner has the waste streams, the other searches to process them. Sounds like a simple match, … or not?

We’re nearly one year into the Labs on Fibre Research Project, coordinated by the fantastic Els Houttequiet from Herwin. ( đź’ˇ Ellie’s Podcast Tip: EP12: Jolien Roedolf, Herw!n, Social economy as a driver for circularity).

On June 6th, we had our very first Labs on Fibre meetup, inviting external stakeholders to receive project updates and hear from insightful speakers like Wouter Dujardin, from OVAM a specialist in simplifying complex topics like EPR.

Our role in this project is to support the six ‘field’ labs. In each lab, the goal isn’t just to connect a sorter with a recycling partner, but to establish a collaborative framework and deliver initial batches of textiles. We’re working with six different waste streams, highlighting how crucial it is to start small and agile to grasp their complexity and impact fully.

After all, while matching a sorter with a recycler is straightforward, the real magic lies in the following:

  • Defining feedstock criteria from the recycling company using a structured template to streamline communication and avoid confusion.
  • Ensuring clarity in terminology (e.g., crème, original, clippings, trimmings, cuttings) to prevent misunderstandings.
  • Scaling operations beyond a few kg to tons, necessitating collaboration between sorters.
  • Developing precise sorting instructions to interpret complex specifications accurately.
  • Managing logistics for efficient bundling.
  • Engaging additional value chain partners to remove trims and other components, possibly verifying compositions.
  • Finally delivering to the recycling company, hoping all preceding steps were executed flawlessly for optimal processing.

These labs have already proven incredibly interesting and embody the approach of ‘learning by doing’. We are already looking forward to seeing what follows in the coming months! 

Interested in exploring synergies with the LOF partners?
Don’t hesitate to reach out via 📧.