Polyester Recycling Pilot Project


Plastic has become one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time. Economic development is driving increased demand for this highly functional and inexpensive material, but unfortunately most of the production and consumption patterns of plastic are linear with only a tiny proportion of plastic being recycled after use. Circular business models and new avenues for increased material recycling play an increasingly important role in meeting future needs while addressing the growing problem of plastic waste.

Axfoundation is running a pilot project within the Circular Economy program together with Axel Johnson International and Filippa K to contribute towards finding a solution to the challenge presented by plastic. The goal is to find a circular business model and solution where a significant waste stream of worn-out polyester straps and round slings from Axel Johnson International operations can be recycled as turned into a resource for use by Filippa K.

“Today, the material in the straps consisting of 100 percent polyester is burned. This is a shame, as it could instead be an excellent material, for example, for the fashion industry. Together with Filippa K’s own polyester supplier, we have developed a proof of concept and mechanically turned the straps into PET pellets. This material has since been included as a raw material for textile production testing for Filippa K’s Front Runner line” – Hanna Skoog, Program Director Circular Economy at Axfoundation.

The next step in the project is to find a model for scaling up the first successful tests and linking us to a larger consortium of companies that are interested in recycled polyester.

– In this way, we can create a small market for worn-out straps from Axel Johnson International. One challenge with recycled polyester is that it cannot often compete with its virgin counterpart on price. The aim is therefore to create a demand for the polyester from the straps, which will lead to a need to replace virgin polyester. For example, we will evaluate the possibility of collaborating with a button or wire supplier that can offer products to several companies in the fashion industry, consisting of the recycled polyester.

The first tests were conducted in 2018. In 2019, Axfoundation will focus on scaling up and finding a sustainable business model.