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Cutting-edge automated textile sorting is helping to upscale a method of turning waste cotton into the building blocks for virgin synthetic fibres, according to researchers in Sweden. If successful, they plan to produce chemicals which in turn can become various types of textiles, including spandex and nylon.

The researchers say new advances have boosted lab-scale success from paltry levels of three and four per cent up to as much as 90 per cent. Once their recipe formulation is complete, they say it will be easy to replicate and cheap to use.

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