Canada's Textile Recycling Pilot​

Nearly 500,000 tonnes of post-consumer textiles wind up in Canada’s landfills each year, many of which are garments made from fossil-based synthetic (or plastic) materials such as polyester, nylon and acrylic.

As a first step to mitigate some of these post-consumer textiles from entering landfills or being incinerated, we explored ways to turn these garments into an alternative consumer-facing product.

Canadians have been mechanically recycling textiles for years, into wipers, rags and insulation. While there are promising advanced recycling technologies that are making their way to the market, opening opportunities for fibre-to-fibre recycling and other manufacturing possibilities, these technologies will require a few more years until they are scaled and widely adopted.

Our pilot focused on possible end market opportunities given the current state of infrastructure and available technologies in Canada. Together with local stakeholders, we worked our way back to demonstrate that it is possible to mechanically recycle discarded textiles into a consumer-facing product of higher economic value than the traditional aforementioned downcycling pathways.

This pilot also showed that there is a feasible business case for recycling textiles that are not fit for resale or repair and turn it into a stylish and practical, consumer facing end product that was entirely made here in Canada!

The hamper was made available at select Canadian Tire stores across Canada in winter 2023.

This laundry hamper is made from 40% post-consumer polyester garments and 50% recycled PET. (Note: 99% of recycled polyester on the market today is made from plastic bottles and not from polyester textiles).

So how did we do this?

The first step was to create a local recycling supply chain which consisted of:
  • SportChek (retail partner who ran in-store collection)
  • Goodwill (charity collection partner that sorted and cleaned the garments)
  • Jasztex (industrial shredder partner that tore the fabric)
  • Alkegen, formerly Texel (mill partner that carded and needlepunched to make a felt) 
  • Textile expert Marianne Mercier (testing and design of felted product)
  • Canadian Tire (retailer who will sell the final end product in select stores across Canada)
And from there, we broke the pilot into phases, which were all documented (along with our learnings). These phases include:
  1. Pre-pilot activities – in addition to our supply chain partners, we formed a national stakeholder learning group to provide deeper insights along each step of the journey in an effort to scale and replicate; and determined the type of feedstock in a Guidance Document that will be published in spring 2023.
  2. Collecting the material – included marketing to the customer, choosing the bins and locations
  3. Sorting the materials – manually sorting based on fibre (100% polyester) and removing any contaminants, then transportation of materials (1000kg  pilot sample)
  4. Defiberizing the materials – chopping and shredding, then transportation of materials
  5. Creating a nonwoven fabric – blending, carding, needlepunching, finishing and testing
  6. Product development – material characteristics, circular design principles, product design, testing, quoting and prototyping.
  7. Manufacturing – gathering quotes from local providers
  8. Commercialization – labelling, packaging, pricing & marketing
  9. Putting the product on the market plus – assessing the financial return

Guidance Document

During our pilot, we created a guidance document that details each phase of the project, including our key learnings and considerations for others interested in replicating or scaling

ACP Playbook

Accelerating Circularity is a key partner of ours, and an important stakeholder that brings global insights to our projects.  Their ACP Playbook is a step-by-step guide on how to move into a circular business model, and is a great complement to our Guidance Document.

Pilot Supply Chain Partners:

Stakeholder Group:

Interested in learning more?

Reach out to us at


Guidance Document

“Creating a Textile Recycling Supply Chain”

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