Professor Stephen Russell is an expert on textile recycling. In this episode, Stephen Russell teaches us the basics of textile recycling. He shares insights into the market for reuse and recycling of textiles as well as future technological developments in this area. Stephen highlights the importance of the consumer participating in the recycling supply chain by donating used textiles as well as buying recycled products. Stephen also talks about issues of sorting used textiles, what to do with blended fabrics and dividing the textile from zippers, buttons and thread. When it comes to recycling, wool is also a special fibre which Stephen explains in detail.
About Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell is Professor of Textile Materials and Technology, as well as Group Leader for Technology in the School of Design at the University of Leeds, UK. He is a textile engineer with a background in both academic and industrial research, working mainly on the manufacture, structure and properties of new textile materials. After starting his career in wool processing research, he developed broader interests in textile technology, working on waste minimisation in textile manufacturing, recycling and reuse, design for disassembly of textile products and technical textiles. His work in textile technology has been industrially applied to various industrial, consumer and healthcare products, and in 2005 he co-founded NIRI Ltd. a University of Leeds spinout Company specialising in technical consultancy.
Connect with Stephen Russell and the University of Leeds here
University of Leeds website
Nonwovens Innovation & Research Institute (NIRI) website
Ellen Macarthur Foundation website
IWTO website about recycling
Key Time Stamps
[01:10] About Stephen Russell and University of Leeds
[02:57] Who are the customers of NIRI?
[03:55] The basics about the recycling industry
[06:36] About the demand for recycled textiles
[07:59] How many textiles get recycled?
[12:01] About the circular economy
[15:30] Why wool is one of the oldest circular economies
[18:59] Typical recycling cycle of wool
[22:47] Why wool is special when it comes to recycling
[24:38] Why blended textiles are a challenge for recycling
[26:35] How are textiles sorted for recycling?
[27:35] New technologies for recycling
[31:53] Is there a demand for recycled products?
[37:17] Outlook for recycling
[40:00] How to connect with Stephen’s work
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