Project Re:claim Unveils UK’s First Commercial-Scale Polyester Recycling Plant

In a groundbreaking initiative to revolutionize the fashion industry’s approach to sustainability, Project Re:claim, a joint venture between corporate wear specialist Project Plan B and Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd (SATCoL), is set to launch the United Kingdom’s inaugural commercial-scale polyester recycling plant. This remarkable collaboration seeks to address the mounting environmental challenges posed by textile waste and aims to transform the way garments are designed and produced.

Project Plan B, hailing from Plymouth, has developed an innovative polyester recycling system inspired by the success of plastic bottle recycling. In partnership with SATCoL, the largest charity textile collector in the UK, the plant will be installed at one of SATCoL’s processing centers, which already handles an impressive 65,000 tons of donated textiles each year.

Tim Cross, CEO at Project Plan B, emphasized the urgency for change, stating, “We need a seismic change in how garments are designed and produced.” He further highlighted polyester textile recycling as one of the most promising avenues to mitigate the harmful impact of clothing production. The new technology boasts the first proven commercial-scale system capable of addressing the complexities of recycling post-consumer garments effectively.

Upon its launch, the plant is expected to recycle approximately 2,500 tons of polyester in its inaugural year, with projections set to rise to 5,000 tons in the following year. The process involves the creation of polyester pellets, which have already yielded successful results in producing the first yarns from these recycled materials.

Majonne Frost, Head of Environment and Sustainability at SATCoL, expressed enthusiasm about the potential of the new technology. “Last year, SATCoL enabled the reuse and recycling of over 250 million products,” Frost said. “However, there are always items that are too damaged for resale, particularly garments made from polyester. With this new technology, we can give these clothes a new lease of life. This is the future of fashion.”

The polyester recycling plant is set to be installed at SATCoL’s processing center in Kettering, scheduled for September. To maximize the volume and potential of polyester recycling, SATCoL recognizes the need for additional sources beyond clothing bank donations. Consequently, the organization is actively seeking corporate partners willing to commit to donating 100% polyester materials.

Frost explained, “Our vision is to enable companies to produce corporate wear and fashion garments using recycled polyester. 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 distinguished for operating the UK’s sole automated textile sorting facility known as Fibersort in Kettering, is aiming even higher. This latest technology marks another step toward the organization’s ambition of establishing the UK’s first fiber farm—a large-scale textile-to-textile recycling facility catering to various materials.

As the fashion industry faces mounting pressure to adopt sustainable practices, Project Re:claim’s polyester recycling plant emerges as a beacon of hope. With the innovative collaboration between Project Plan B and SATCoL, a greener future for fashion is finally within reach, where recycled polyester takes center stage, transforming discarded garments into valuable resources and shaping a more sustainable industry for generations to come.


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