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#054: Stephen Russell about the textile recycling industry and market

Stephen Russell NIRI guest at Wool Academy Podcast

Professor Stephen Russell is an expert on textile recycling. In this episode, Stephen Russell teaches us the basics of textile recycling. He shares insights into the market for reuse and recycling of textiles as well as future technological developments in this area. Stephen highlights the importance of the consumer participating in the recycling supply chain by donating used textiles as well as buying recycled products. Stephen also talks about issues of sorting used textiles, what to do with blended fabrics and dividing the textile from zippers, buttons and thread. When it comes to recycling, wool is also a special fibre which Stephen explains in detail.


About Stephen Russell

Stephen Russell is Professor of Textile Materials and Technology, as well as Group Leader for Technology in the School of Design at the University of Leeds, UK. He is a textile engineer with a background in both academic and industrial research, working mainly on the manufacture, structure and properties of new textile materials. After starting his career in wool processing research, he developed broader interests in textile technology, working on waste minimisation in textile manufacturing, recycling and reuse, design for disassembly of textile products and technical textiles. His work in textile technology has been industrially applied to various industrial, consumer and healthcare products, and in 2005 he co-founded NIRI Ltd. a University of Leeds spinout Company specialising in technical consultancy.

Connect with Stephen Russell and the University of Leeds here

University of Leeds website

Nonwovens Innovation & Research Institute (NIRI) website

Ellen Macarthur Foundation website

IWTO website about recycling


Key Time Stamps

[spp-timestamp time=”01:10″] About Stephen Russell and University of Leeds

[spp-timestamp time=”02:57″] Who are the customers of NIRI?

[spp-timestamp time=”03:55″] The basics about the recycling industry

[spp-timestamp time=”06:36″] About the demand for recycled textiles

[spp-timestamp time=”07:59″] How many textiles get recycled?

[spp-timestamp time=”12:01″] About the circular economy

[spp-timestamp time=”15:30″] Why wool is one of the oldest circular economies

[spp-timestamp time=”18:59″] Typical recycling cycle of wool

[spp-timestamp time=”22:47″] Why wool is special when it comes to recycling

[spp-timestamp time=”24:38″] Why blended textiles are a challenge for recycling

[spp-timestamp time=”26:35″] How are textiles sorted for recycling?

[spp-timestamp time=”27:35″] New technologies for recycling

[spp-timestamp time=”31:53″] Is there a demand for recycled products?

[spp-timestamp time=”37:17″] Outlook for recycling

[spp-timestamp time=”40:00″] How to connect with Stephen’s work


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#30: Ingun Klepp – Consumer research and sustainability

#19: Kjersti Kviseth – Circular economy

#15: Beverley Henry – Wool Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

About the author, Elisabeth

Elisabeth is the founder and host of the Wool Academy Podcast. She also runs her own consulting business where she supports wool industry businesses with strategic communications and project management.
Elisabeth used to work as the Secretary General for the International Wool Textile Organisation where she developed her passion for wool and the wool industry. Her previous education and work experience equipped her also with a broad set of communications skills.

Elisabeth vision is to see the wool industry thrive which is why she supports wool industry businesses communicate successfully.

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