Prof. Thomas Gries on "The Recycling Problem of Clothes" at "Uni am Rathaus".

The discussion participants at the Katschhof in Aachen, far right Prof. Thomas Gries Copyright: © ITA

The discussion participants at the Katschhof in Aachen, Germany, far right Prof. Thomas Gries


On 20 July, Prof. Thomas Gries joined Sibylle Keupen, Mayor of the City of Aachen, Heiko Thomas, Councillor for Climate and Environment, Municipal Operations and Buildings of the City of Aachen, and Professor Marzia Traverso, Head of the Institute for Sustainability in Construction at RWTH Aachen University, at a panel discussion on "Textiles in the Circular Economy: Are our clothes becoming a problem?" at the Katschhof from 6 pm. (see picture, Prof. Gries is on the far right, source: ITA).

Textiles are - after food - the second most important consumer product in Germany: 20 to 25 kilogrammes are consumed per capita annually. Of this, 75 per cent is clothing, the rest is, for example, nappies, carpets or household textiles. However, the recycling rate is only one percent. How can this problem be solved? What can cities and municipalities do, what can science do? Is it possible to produce regionally produced clothing on a large scale again in Germany? Structural change also opens up opportunities for change in the textile industry.

Prof. Gries showed current projects on these topics and, among other things, how new textiles are produced at ITA from old blankets. The process addresses one of the main problems of recycling, the processing of mixed waste. With the process developed at ITA, pure acrylic fibres could be recovered from mixed waste and knitted into a cushion cover presented there.

The Citizens' Forum RWTHextern („Bürgerforum RWTH Extern“) and the City of Aachen had invited to this panel discussion. The event was moderated by Jens Tervooren from WDR.