The «Texcycle» project is a collaboration between Lucerne University, Texaid, and Coop. Its aim is to create a raw material optimized for high quality recycled products.
Texaid collects around 36,000 tons of old clothing in Switzerland every year and ensures that it is reused in an ecologically sensible way. Around 12,000 tons of these old clothes are no longer fit to be worn. At present, these items are processed into cleaning rags, insulating materials, or shoddy (shredded fibers). This project seeks to make better use of these qualities, which means the fabrics can be used for higher quality products and the raw material «old textiles» can be used even more sustainably. A design-driven research approach offers new opportunities to address the highly complex problem of sustainability in the life cycle of textiles from a design-specific perspective. What materials can be obtained using current methods of used textile processing, and how can these materials be manufactured into something new? What would a new arrey of products look like if it consisted of new materials obtained from used textiles? Besides bringing theoretical expertise to the project, Lucerne University is creating various prototypes for newly defined applications so that the new concepts and materials can be physically tested. A first step will be to analyze how used clothing is currently processed and to optimize this process for newly defined applications. The project is aligned with the «close the loop» approach and thus with the question of how textile life cycles can become more circular in a comprehensive and sustainable way. New applications should be found for raw materials derived from used clothes that are no longer fit to wear.