A Dutch company, Feyecon, has developed a process to strip colors from dyed polyester textiles using super-critical CO2. This has the potential to accelerate closed-loop textile recycling by greatly improving the quality of recycled raw material inputs. Research is underway to see if this technique can be used to remove textile finishes and other auxiliary chemicals from fabrics.
Feyecon, a partner in joint venture company DyeCoo, which produces CO2 textile dyeing machines, says it’s the only company to consider dye removal from polyester textile waste using its own pressurised fluid technology. Given the early commercial success of DyeCoo technology, which is currently being used to dye textiles without the use of water for brands such as Nike and Adidas, Fayecon decided to experiment with reversing this technique to bleach dyed polyester textiles.
The removed dyes are then dissolved in the CO2, thus avoiding the use of organic solvents or other caustic chemicals to decolorise fabrics. The decolorisation step will also dry the synthetic textile fiber polymer, which will help to limit degradation during recycling. The company is also investigating whether this technology can be applied to remove finishing chemicals and auxiliaries from fabrics. Feyecon claims the dye can be recycled.