Material utilization of end-of-term textiles

Mechanical processing of the non-reusable part of collected end-of-life apparels (e.g. cutting, sifting, etc.); development of marketable application for the obtained short fibers in the field of construction materials (e.g. bitumen modification)

Short Description




In the course of the collection of end-of-life apparel a fraction of clothes, which cannot be as rewearables, remains and has to be disposed for high costs. The project aims to develop a mechanical process by which such waste materials can be processed into a recycling product to be used in building materials. The processing chain comprises a disintegration and a separation step in order to receive a textile / fibrous and a non-fibrous fraction. In a further step, a grinding process can achieve a well defined fiber length optimized for the intended final application. Possible applications are one hand the manufacture of textiles and nonwovens and, on the other hand, a use of short fibers in liquid or paste-like materials to increase viscosity. It was demonstrated that textile waste can successfully be processed by means of a low-speed single-shaft shredder.

The most important process parameters could be obtained which allow a further up-scaling to an industrial scale. An analysis of the textile waste showed that the ratio of hydrophobic / hydrophilic fibers ranges between 50 : 50 and 60 : 40. Furthermore, a determination of the fiber morphology illustrate a high similarity with fibers from other recycling processes on the one hand, and, on the other hand, with fiber products already well established on the market. In a further step, it was shown that a removal of the impurities is possible using standard equipment available on the market. Thus, apart the textile fraction minor amounts of iron, non-iron metals, coarse material (plastics, wood, stone, glass, etc ...) and dust are obtained.

Finally, it was shown that textile fraction, freed from the impurities, can be ground with conventional high-speed fine cutting mill to obtain a short fiber product. By selecting the grinding parameters, especially the mesh size, a recycled product can be obtained, which exhibits a similar fiber length and diameter compared to products that are currently used in the construction industry. Because of this similarity, it seems possible that fiber products made from virgin material can be substituted by the recycled fiber material. Due to the fact that for the disposal of textile waste around 150 €/t have to be paid and that similar additives are sold for about 250 €/t, it seems possible to compensate the processing costs and to realize a profit. Thus, the overall economic situation of apparel collectors can be significantly improved.

Project Partners

Project management

Dr. Andreas Bartl
TU Wien
Institut für Verfahrenstechnik, Umwelttechnik und Technische Biowissenschaften


  • Sebnem Haner, MSc.
  • Dipl.-Ing. Davide Pico
  • Univ.-Prof. Ingo Marini
  • Fr. Gertraud Kasser-Heil
  • Hr. Josef Slanovc
  • Institut für Verfahrenstechnik, Umwelttechnik und Technische Biowissenschaften

Project or cooperation partner

  • HUMANA Verein z. Förd. notl. Menschen i. d. 3. Welt
  • R + M Ressourcen + Management GmbH
  • UEG Umwelt- und Entsorgungstechnik AG
  • Green World Recycling Ltd.

Contact Address

TU Wien - Institut für Verfahrenstechnik, Umwelttechnik und Technische Biowissenschaften
Dr. Andreas Bartl
Getreidemarkt 9/166
1060 Wien
Tel.: +43 (1) 58801 166