With its investors, the company, which originates from East London, is researching a solution to turn pure and blended polyester and cotton textiles back into virgin equivalent as a ‘chemical’ way to recycle used clothing and similar materials.
The investment includes follow-on commitments from two of its existing strategic investors, the clothing-retail company H&M Group and the global fluid engineering and manufacturing firm, Sulzer.
Keith Wiggins, chief executive of Worn Again Technologies, said: “It is a pivotal time for H&M, Sulzer and others to be investing in Worn Again Technologies.
“It shows that global industry leaders are behind our company’s unique technology which can replace the use of virgin resources by recapturing raw materials from non-reusable products.
“The investment is a considerable step forward in building momentum for Worn Again’s technology for the emerging circular economy.”
Worn Again Technologies says its proprietary process separates, decontaminates and extracts PET polymer and cellulose from non-reusable textiles, PET bottles and packaging to go back into supply chains as raw materials.
Worn Again Technologies says the investment provides more than two years of operating capital and will be used to accelerate and complete the company’s fundamental technology development through the research and development phase.
It will also provide the base financing required in the next phase of bringing the technology to market, the company says.
Erik Karlsson, investment manager at H&M Group’s investment arm CO:LAB, said: “Having worked with founder Cyndi Rhoades and the impressive team since 2013, we’re thrilled to continue our journey by further investing in Worn Again Technologies as they move into an exciting new phase towards commercialisation over the coming years.
“Their regenerative recycling technology not only aligns perfectly with the H&M group’s vision to become fully circular, but also has the potential to benefit the entire industry.”
Founded in 2005 in East London as Worn Again, Worn Again Technologies says it wants to “recycle the very building blocks of textiles at the molecular level.”
In January, the company announced it had launched a pilot research and development facility at the Biotechnology CPI centre in Redcar, North Yorkshire (see letsrecycle.com story).
The company says it is currently working with end-of-use textile owners on the WA-Feedstock Specification. It also says it is engaging other potential stakeholders in preparation for the next phase of development, focusing on a larger demonstration facility, expected in 2021.