The future of textile recycling: Valmet joins PESCO-UP project

Jan 24, 2024

On January 18, 2024, representatives from 19 consortium partners gathered to kick off the PESCO-UP project. Textile waste collection will be mandatory in EU member states by 2025. The PESCO-UP project aims to transform the textile recycling industry by creating new raw materials from mixed waste.

Participants at the PESCO-UP project kick-off.

The PESCO-UP project focuses on transforming mixed polyester/cotton waste into high-quality and clean materials for the next use cycle, aligning with the EU's 2025 textile waste mandatory collection. The project is led by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, one of the leading research organizations in Europe, and the consortium covers the entire textile recycling life cycle.

Valmet brings its proven solutions and know-how in fiber treatment to the project. “I’m thrilled that we at Valmet are part of this project, and the transformation of the textile market. Our process technology and know-how from the pulp and paper industry applies to textile fiber processes,” says Heli Kangas, Development Manager in Valmet’s Stock Preparation and Recycled Fiber business unit and Valmet’s representative in the PESCO-UP project. She continues: 

“For the PESCO-UP project we contribute to the evaluation of various mechanical pre-treatment methods and our expertise on the decolorization of textiles and the handling of filtrates and effluents, as well as in addressing the separation of blend textiles. Additionally, we are actively involved in the demonstration of upcycling polycotton blend textiles into valuable products and in assessing the feasibility and sustainability of upcycling routes. We also play a role in scaling-up, technology transfer and exploitation.” 


Innovative processes for enhancing textile recycling 

The PESCO-UP project will address industry challenges by, among others, creating a digital marketplace for information exchange and establishing recycling standards. The project spans 48 months, aiming to enhance the textile recycling value chain and reduce reliance on virgin materials.

The PESCO-UP project’s holistic approach includes innovative processes such as digitalized material identification, data sharing, and advanced sorting systems. The project targets up to 90% material processing efficiency by developing feasible chemical and mechanical separation methods.

The project not only advances in technology but also wants to lead the change in transforming this challenge into business opportunities and enhance workforce skills through targeted upskilling strategies and engaging training materials. 


The project in brief: 

PESCO-UP is a Horizon Europe project, funded by the European Union. It started on 1 January 2024 and will last for 48 months. Led by VTT, the largest research and technology company and research center conducting applied research in Finland, the PESCO-UP consortium is EU-wide and covers the entire textile recycling life-cycle. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under the grant agreement No. 101138367.

More information on the PESCO-UP project on its website.  

PESCO-UP is part of Beyond Circularity, Valmet’s R&D program and ecosystem to transform waste and emissions into valuable resources for sustainable growth and accelerating the green transition.