Post-consumer Cotton Waste Recycling for High-Quality Brand New Fibers


Unmet Need: Efficient use of textile waste

The worldwide fiber consumption for consumer textile products has been growing steadily in the past several decades due to population growth and living standard improvement. Given the fact that only about 15% of the post-consumer textiles are recycled, the number of textiles that contribute to the municipal solid waste (MSW) increases accordingly. Statistics from EPA shows every American adult averagely abandons 31 kilograms (i.e., 68 pounds) textiles each year, which account for 5% of MSW. Approximately two-thirds by weight of the textile wastes are cotton products, converted to 3.7% of the MSW, which is either buried in landfill or burned in incinerators. Substantial amount of greenhouse gases and toxic chemicals and odors are generated in landfills and/or incinerators. This not only severely harms the environment and human health, but also is in contradiction with the efficient use of natural cellulose resources.

The Technology: Regenerating fiber from cotton waste through recycling

Researchers at Washington State University have developed a technology for recycling cotton waste (both pre-consumer/post-industry and post-consumer waste) to manufacture high quality regenerated fibers for a broad range of applications, including apparel, home textiles, and nonwoven products. Via this technology, cotton waste is dissolved in environmentally friendly chemicals to produce a cotton solution which is then transformed into solid fibers through a fiber spinning method, i.e., wet spinning.


  • Obtains continuous fiber with fabulous luster.
  • Cotton production that need not involve dyeing process.


  • Regenerated fiber possesses same chemical composition as original cotton.
  • Dissolving process does not alter the cellulose molecular structure of the original cotton.
  • Use of eco-friendly solvents and zero effluent discharge
  • Avoidance of toxic chemicals used to produce fresh cotton and rayon.

Intellectual Property:

  • United States Patent PCT/US2018/032239
  • China Patent ZL201880032051.9
  • European Patent Office 3609924
  • Germany 602018028899.6
  • India 405419


Learn More

Rabindra Nanda
Technology Licensing Associate Senior
Washington State University
(509) 335-8608
Reference No: 1798


Hang Liu
Jinwen Zhang
Wangcheng Liu

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