Wolkat - a family business closing the loop on textile recycling
Wolkat has created a circular partnership with JBC and Wereld Missiehulp (WMH) to offer full service processing of discarded textiles. Consumers hand in their textile waste at JBC shops where they can also buy products made of recycled textiles. WMH also donates revenue from the second-hand textiles to projects in developing countries. This project is the start of an innovative, circular partnership with many more products to come.
Wolkat optimises the value in every step of the textile recycling supply chain, from re-use as garments to recycled end-products for the fashion, car and home textiles industry. This circular and transparent way of working gives Wolkat control over the full supply chain: collecting, sorting, recycling, spinning and weaving under one roof.
Wolkat processes more than 25 million kg of textiles per year. The only source of CO2 emissions during the production process is transport to and from Morocco where Wolkat also collects discarded clothing; all other steps are done in-house.
- Reduce: Wolkat creates new products out of old ones as it works with used clothing and old textiles. At Wolkat's recycling process, only 10 ml of water is used for 1 kg of textile, with pesticides taken out at every step.
- Reuse: During the second step, one stream is sorted into usable clothing and textiles.
- Recycle: After all the sorting, one recycles the ‘useless’ textiles.
- Recreate: After shredding fabrics into new fibers, the new raw materials are revaluated and sent to the spinning mill for old textiles being transformed into new products: yarns, knitted or woven end products and also non-woven fabrics.
- By sorting second hand textile and offering different types of end products Wolkat can process 94-96 % of the discarded textile as second hand textile or sustainable end product.
- Within the Wolkat recycling process, one uses only 10 ml of water for 1 kg of textile.
- For more sustainability, pesticides and dyes are banned completely from the production chain.
- The first items produced from recycled clothing were bags. This is only the first step in the process of developing a more circular collection for JBC. The bag has been nominated for best Belgian sustainable consumer product 2020-2021.
- The end product is made from 80% post-consumer material and 20% recycled PET, making it a 100% recycled item.