Textile Waste Recycling by Biological Method

The major difficulty in textile waste recycling is that varied compositions are used, which limits regenerated products to low-value applications e.g. second-hand clothing and basic fibre content.

This project developed a novel bioprocess which makes use of textile waste for the sustainable production of different value-added products, such as glucose, synthetic fibre, bioplastics, bio-chemicals and bio-surfactants. These materials are applicable to a range of industries.


The process consists of three main steps: 1) Modification of textile waste, 2) Enzyme production by fungal cultivation, 3) Enzymatic hydrolysis and 4) product refining. The enzymes efficiently degrade the natural fibre (i.e. cotton) in the textile waste into glucose, leaving the highly pure polyester residues for the subsequent re-spinning process.

Technological breakthrough

The proposed biorefinery strategies are capable of recycling most textiles such as 100% cotton, 100% polyester, jeans, and cotton-polyester blend textiles. It provides a green technology to enable a closed-loop recycling strategy for the textiles industry by capturing the embodied value of the synthetic fibre. The bio-based products derived from textile waste can replace fossil fuel resources and eventually lead to the establishment of a sustainable and circular economy.

Licensing Details

For more details, please contact us. (Email:; Tel: (852) 2627 0180)


Award Name
Gold Medal in the 46th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva (2018)
Related ITF project
Research Start Date 2016-03-31
IP Number