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Toom Tekstiil: Cutting textile waste through industrial recycling

Evelin Urbel-Piirsalu's picture

As recycling and reusing industrial textile waste is just as logical as recycling glass and plastic, Estonian textile manufacturer has developed a green solution by building a recycling factory.

Toom Tekstiil Ltd is one of the leading home textile, mattress and nonwoven manufacturers in the Northern Europe. In 2013 they opened an industrial textile waste recycling and nonwoven thermobonded and needlepunched materials production factory. The factory is first of its kind in the Baltic states and Northern Europe.

Toom Tekstiil mainly manufactures and markets quilts, pillows, mattress protectors, seating pillows, chair pads and cushions, bed-linens, top-, foam- & spring mattresses, springbeds and continental beds, soft furniture, needlepunched nonwoven materials and thermowadding materials. All of Toom Tekstiil’s products are certified and meet Öko-Tex 100 requirements, and in 2013 Toom Tekstiil began recycling industrial textile waste. 

The main purpose of opening textile waste recycling factory was to collect industrial textile waste and turn this waste into nonwoven thermobonded materials. It is a new step for responsible environmental thinking and also for cost saving. Materials will be sold to soft furniture industry, mattress manufacturers, insulation purposes and so on. Product weight is from 60g/m2 up to 5000g/m2 and maximum trimmed width 3,2 meters.

As an innovation, the new line allows Toom Tekstiil to produce sandwich type thermobonded material. It means that material can consist from two layers. One layer can be produced for instance 100% virgin material and second layer up to 80% textile waste. Such structure allows many innovative material replacements inside different products.

The factory allows producing about 4000 tons nonwoven materials per year, but at first about 1500 tons of industrial textile waste was planned to be recycled in a year. In 2014 about 800 tons of industrial textile waste was recycled. Previously all of this waste would have ended up in landfill. About 80% of recycled industrial textile waste comes from the production of Toom Tekstiil, the rest comes from partner companies.

Toom Tekstiil is not yet recycling the industrial textile waste at full capacity, as there are still some limitations to the products. To sell the products from recycled textile more widely, a lot of groundwork has to be done. For example, the products have to be certified and certification expects the material quality to be measured first. Also there are plenty of ideas for new products, so the product development team will be very busy in the coming years.

Building the new recycling factory cost about 3,5 million euros. The equipment investment was 2,7 million euros of which half was funded by the Estonian Environmental Investment Centre.

Further details

How was the green solution financed?: 
Would you characterize the green solution as: 
High capital intensive investment (i.e. above €30,000)