Logan, QLD-based clean technology startup BlockTexx has teamed up with a Brisbane social enterprise group to convert tonnes of its ‘decommissioned’ clothing into resources for the construction, manufacturing and agricultural sectors.
BlockTexx has formalised its partnership with HELP Enterprises after completing a successful trial, paving the way for the partnership to also create new employment opportunities for people living with disabilities.
BlockTexx, co-founded in 2018 by former fashion company executive Adrian Jones and Kusaga Athletic founder Graham Ross, last year commissioned its first fully operational processing facility at Loganholme on Brisbane’s southern outskirts.
Construction of the facility, which is expected to produce 50,000 tonnes of recycled textiles over the next four years, came on the heels of a $5.5 million Series A capital raising in 2021 from private investors and multi-government funding.
Deploying industry-leading technology, BlockTexx collaborated with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) researchers to develop a commercially viable system to extract and reuse fibres from discarded clothing, sheets and towels.
The trademarked S.O.F.T. (separation of fibre technology) process can repurpose cellulose from recycled polyester-cotton textiles, which are traditionally problematic to separate, and use the by-product to create new resources.
The process is said to successfully reclaim up to 98 per cent of resources from cotton and polyester garments, which are the world’s two most-used textile fabrics.
HELP Enterprises has decommissioned more than 10 tonnes of used clothing and textiles at its Eagle Farm facility, removing buttons, zips and uniform tags from garments ahead of delivery to the BlockTexx processing plant. The partners say they expect the joint initiative to create about 20 new jobs at HELP.
“Our supported employees already have the opportunity to serve coffee at our cafés, make bins for Brisbane City Council and mailboxes for the likes of Hutchinson Builders, as well as nurture their green thumbs at our nursery,” HELP Enterprises CEO Denver Fresser says.
“And now, BlockTexx brings a new skillset for our workers to learn and gain experience in a supported environment.”
BlockTexx is reported to have previously secured commercial supply contracts with the likes of WorkWear Group and The Star Entertainment Group (ASX: SGR) to feed its processing facility.
Jones says the partnership with HELP Enterprises is a key element of the social contract that BlockTexx plans to grow.
“On one hand we are diverting textile waste from landfill and creating valuable new resources and, on the other hand, we are working with a great local, social enterprise to provide meaningful jobs for people living with a disability,” he says.
“When we first started BlockTexx, we set out to create a company that not only provided forward-thinking solutions for the resources sector but also giving back environmentally, economically and socially.”
BlockTexx produces Microcrystalline cellulose known as Celltex from recycling cotton or the cellulose which is commonly found in cotton and hemp. Celltex is used across multiple industry sectors including agricultural, building and manufacturing.
The recovered PET is polymerised to create virgin-quality plastic pellets known as PolyTexx, which are suitable for injection moulding, packaging, building products and textiles.
BlockTexx has flagged its ambitions to license its technology globally in a bid to stem the tide of more than 92 million tonnes of textiles a year sent to landfill globally.
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