Podcast | Pioneering sustainable textile recycling: Purfi's soft mechanical recycling


In the latest podcast episode on Ellie.Connect, Koen De Ruyck, General Manager of Purfi Manufacturing, unravels the intricacies of Purfi's groundbreaking technology, shedding light on the future of sustainable textile recycling. Here's a sneak peek into the key insights that make this episode a must-listen.

At the heart of Purfi's technological innovation is the focus on soft mechanical recycling. Unlike traditional methods that often compromise fiber integrity, Purfi's approach revolves around rejuvenating textile fibers, preserving their length and strength. This unique method sets Purfi apart in the pursuit of a circular textile industry.

Seizing the moment
The urgency to propel sustainable practices is emphasized throughout the episode. Koen stresses the opportune moment to act, leveraging existing technology, know-how, and momentum to showcase the opportunities for recycling in the textile and fashion landscape. In order to take practical steps towards a sustainable future, Purfi's commitment extends beyond immediate gains, prioritizing long-term strategic partnerships over short-term sales.

Europe's crucial role
The circular ambition for sustainable practices places Europe at the forefront. The episode underscores the significance of clear schedules, eco-design expectations by 2025, unity, and a focus on recycled content in high-quality products. Ensuring equivalent importation rules outside Europe is pivotal to maintain a level playing field and accelerate the industry's shift towards sustainability.

Beyond cost differences
The conversation addresses a common concern: the initial cost differences in adopting recycled materials. However, Koen highlights a key insight – as volumes increase, the cost competitiveness of recycled materials improves significantly, making sustainable practices not just environmentally but economically viable.

Rejuvenation vs. recycling
Koen distinguishes between rejuvenation and traditional recycling: while 'recycling' often implies downcycling, Purfi's emphasis is on upcycling. The philosophy of rejuvenation strives to restore fibers to their youthful state, a commitment that consistently frames Purfi's work within the realm of circularity.

Revolutionizing textile recycling
Koen refers to a recent study by McKinsey, which positions Purfi's method as 'soft mechanical recycling.' This innovative approach involves delicately untwisting various fabrics, transforming them into yarn through reverse spinning. The result is a material of comparable quality to virgin materials, making it highly valuable for spinning companies.

About Ellie.Connect
Ellie.Connect is a digital platform that helps you take sustainability to the next level through finding new connections, knowledge and expertise, as well as countless use cases for your sustainability transformation in and with the textiles & fashion industry. 

The platform is founded by Julie Lietaer, who’s also the founder of Ariadne Innovation, the CEO of European Spinning Group and the ambassador for sustainable textiles. Julie’s expertise lies in knowledge of fibers and sustainable yarns, as well as in circular product development projects and has the personal mission to drive positive impact in the industry.

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