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Wolkat - a family business closing the loop on textile recycling

Wolkat collects, sorts, recycles and re-develops textile.

Type of organisation or company:

Country: 
Netherlands
City: 
Tilburg

Language for original content:

Project elaborated in partnership: 
No

Scope:

Ongoing: 
Yes

Type of funding:

Kimberley van der Wal
Description: 

Recycling is necessary in the textile industry. Wolkat processes more than 25 million kg of textiles per year. Its concept consists of four pillars concerning each piece of fabric.

  1. Reduce: The greenest energy is the energy one does not consume. Normally, the production of one cotton T-shirt costs 2700 litres of water and 7 tablespoons of pesticides. Wolkat does not create new products using precious energy but 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.

  2. Re-use: Scarce resources are being re-used. During the second step, one stream is sorted into usable clothing and textiles, destined for thrift stores and wholesale markets. The second stream consists of textiles of which private re-use is no longer possible. And it is exactly these textiles that Wolkat uses as raw materials for the recycling process.
     
  3. Recycle: After all the sorting, one recycles the ‘useless’ textiles. This recycling process begins by cleaning the textiles: taking buttons, zippers and tags, etc. off for later re-use. The remaining sheer fabric is sorted once more according to colour and material. Blue to blue and wool with wool. During the recycling process, the fabric is cut into pieces and fibers. Wolkat contributes to a sustainable process by using only 0,01 litre water per 1 kg of textile and no dyes at all.
     
  4. Recreate: After shredding fabrics into new fibers, the new raw materials are revaluated and sent to the spinning mill. In this last step, old textiles are transformed into new products: yarns, knitted or woven end products made of them and also non-woven fabrics (felt). The felt usually finds its way into the automotive and furniture industry, but it is also used in mattresses and geotextile and insulation products.

Main activity field:

Main results: 

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.