Silk Recycling into Non-Woven Fabric for Garment Coat Application

Silk fabrics, despite of its light weight, fine and high-twist characteristics, can be recycled and turned into non-woven fabric suitable for making coat through our custom fibre opening process. Traditional process of yarn spinning, knitting or weaving into fabrics is no longer required. To attain suitable strength for coat-garment making, a sandwich structure with a silk-mesh skeleton between two layers of non-woven silk fabric is proposed.

Silk is a valuable protein fibre renowned for its hand feel. Currently, the manufacturing of silk garment product generates off-cuts which, currently without a reliable method of recycling and reuse, is wasteful in terms of material, as well as energy spent in production. It is expected that the success of this project can facilitate recycling these valuable protein fibres.


The silk recycling system is a practical solution to recycle silk fibres and turned them into non-woven fabrics with excellent strength and permeability for making fabric for coat. 

Process of Silk Recycling and Making of Non-woven Fabric

1.      Fibre recovery and pre-needling

Old clothes or post-consumer garment made of silk are fed through the opener to open the fibres. Fibres after cleaning and carding go through the crosslapper for laying fibre web.

2.      Non-woven process

Fibre web are bonded under the process of looming. This can be further divided into pre-needle loom, up needle loom, down needle loom, and finish needle loom. These processes ensure the final product has enough tensile strength and good touching for coat-garment making. Once the fabric is manufactured, it is winded to make it easier for delivery, storage, and selling. 

Industry Benefit

Conventional textile recycling undergoes a “fibre-to-fibre” process. After the fibres are recovered, they undergo processes of yarn spinning, knitting or weaving before it becomes a piece of fabric. This project allows the turning of silk fibres into woollen fabric directly, thus saving production time and cost and encouraging a sustainable production of non-woven fabric by using recycled materials.

Technological Breakthrough

Silk is one of the most luxurious fabrics for textiles and apparel. Comparing to other raw materials such as cotton or polyester, silk is less commonly used in garment making and thus there are comparatively less waste silk textile products. However, there is no reliable method to recycle and reuse silk because of the difficulty in handling the twisted yarn in silk fabric at the same time. To tackle this challenge, this project has developed a custom opening process that enables the recycling of silk.

Project Name (ITF)
Silk Recycling into Non-Woven Fabric for Garment Coat Application
Project Number (ITF)