This work aimed at effective chemical recycling of waste poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) fabrics into water-soluble polyester (WSP). For this, PET fabric waste was depolymerized using excess ethylene glycol (EG) in the presence of zinc acetate as catalyst. The glycolysis product of PET, bis(2-hydroxyethyl) terephthalate (BHET) was then used to synthesize WSP by a three-step method, that is, transesterification, esterification and polycondensation. The structures of BHET and WSP were identified by Fourier transform infrared spectra. Sizing performances of WSP were studied, and it was found that the surface tension of WSP size (57 mN/m, 22℃, 0.5% of weight) was lower than common sizes, the viscosity of WSP size was 1–2 mPa·S (95℃, 6% of weight) and the viscosity stability was larger than 90% at this temperature. The mixture of WSP and starch showed stronger adhesion to polyester–cotton roving and polyester roving than onefold starch. K/S values of fibers before sizing and after desizing showed a slightly difference, which indicated that WSP would not influence the color of yarns when used as the sizing agent.

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