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High performance man-made cellulosic fibres from old newspapers

Increasing consumption requires new ways to recycle waste. In Aalto University old newspapers were converted to textile.

The Ioncell-F process developed by Professor Herbert Sixta’s reseach group is a promising environmentally friendly technology for the conversion of low refined waste cellulosic materials, such as waste newsprint, to high-quality man-made cellulosic fibres. This is demonstrated in a study that has been published with a cover image in Green Chemistry Issue 1, 2018.

The growth of the world population and its prosperity alongside with the urbanization of the society have led to a steadily increasing consumption and growth of waste, which creates conflicts between the economic development and the environmental sustainability. Sustainable technologies and production systems are needed to reduce and recycle waste and shift towards a circular economy. Waste paper represents a major part of municipal solid waste. It is primarily recycled as recycled fibre for the manufacture of newsprint. At the same time the textile consumption has been rising dramatically and will need additional supplements to serve the increasing demand for textile products.

From newspaper to iPad

In the study of Professor Sixta’s research group, for the first time in the world, recycled newsprint was successfully converted to man-made cellulose fibres by using dry-jet wet spinning. Old newspapers were deinked and pretreated with an alkaline glycerol to ensure the preparation of spinnable dopes in an novel ionic liquid. The spun fibres exhibited excellent tensile strengths, comparable to commercial Lyocell fibres made from a dissolving pulp. The staple fibres were spun to yarns, dyed and knitted into an iPad cover.

The Ioncell-F innovation opens up new possibilities for the production of regenerated cellulose fibres of the highest quality, taking the principles of green chemistry into account.

More information:

Professor Herbert Sixta
Aalto University
[email protected]
tel. +358 50 384 1764

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