Nouvelles Fibres Textiles (France): Sorted and shredded textile waste for further processing in the shredding machine

Textile recycling: The Icing on The Cake

From a multitude of challenges to innovative process solutions for the industry. Textile recycling is essential in achieving successful circular economy, and yet its development is just in its infancy. Clothing is responsible for around 10% of greenhouse gas emissions from human activity, and it is estimated that around 7.5 million tonnes of textiles are thrown away annually in Europe. Only 2.2 tonnes of this is collected, the rest ends up in landfills or incineration plants.

Technology can change this: ANDRITZ works hand in hand with international research partners in order to combine expertise in plant engineering with process knowledge and innovative approaches – addressing everything from automated sorting, mechanical and chemical textile recycling to combined processes.

Our in-house pilot plants, such as the “ANDRITZ Recycling Technology Center” in St. Michael (Upper Styria, Austria), give customers and research partners the opportunity to test and develop these technologies at an industrial level, and without any commercial risk.

ANDRITZ Recycling Technology (ART) Center, St. Michael (Upper Styria, AT)

© Croce

ANDRITZ's goal is to bring a circular economy to the world of natural and synthetic textile fibers and to support textile manufacturers in the production of sustainable and competitive end products. That this is possible at all is proven, for example, by the "Circ x ZARA" project. In a collaboration, the first garments consisting entirely of renewed polycotton textile waste (recycled polyester and lyocell) were successfully launched on the market in 2023 in a new fashion line from the fashion giant Zara.

It is important to note that, due to the complexity of materials (fiber qualities and textile composition), there is no generally accepted, standardized way to successfully recycle textiles. ANDRITZ has many solutions and many partners, which, combined, cover the entire fiber recovery value chain.

One aspect that the various processes and technologies have in common is that good and efficient sorting is essential. A major milestone has recently been reached to address this – the "icing on the cake”, so to speak, in the field of textile recycling:

The world's first automated sorting and recycling plant for textile waste has been successfully established and put into operation in France. This was the result of an ambitious partnership with the textile recycling company Nouvelles Fibres Textiles (Amplepuis) and the waste sorting specialist Pellenc ST.

Nouvelles Fibres Textiles (France): Textile waste before sorting


Nouvelles Fibres Textiles (France): Sorted textile clips for recycling processing by means of tearing.


The new plant is capable of automatically sorting clothing according to composition and colour, thereby meeting the requirements of the post-consumer and industrial waste markets. Optionally, the system can remove solid components such as buttons and zips in order to prepare the material for further processing in the integrated tearing machine. Textile waste is processed into recycled fibers for the spinning, nonwovens and composites industries.  

Nouvelles Fibres Textiles uses the plant for industrial production and, together with ANDRITZ, for customer trials, customer projects, and R&D.

Michael Waupotitsch, Vice President of Textile Recycling, ANDRITZ

What's next? Michael Waupotitsch, Vice President of ANDRITZ Textile Recycling, summarises: "Our planet is flooded with textiles, of which only a very small proportion is recycled. It is up to us to proactively provide solutions for recycling and ultimately to contribute to making the world a better place. Together with our research partners, we are currently concentrating on the introduction of industrial-scale plants, and intensifying research activities in the field of chemical recycling and combined recycling."