OLD CLOTHES GET NEW LIFE
Hong Kong is leading the way when it comes to recycling textiles
Recently, the nonprofit H&M Foundation and the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel opened two textile recycling facilities in Hong Kong.
This is the first time that hydrothermal recycling technology, which won the top award at the International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva, is being used on a large scale.
In addition, a miniaturized Garment-To-Garment Recycling System, has been set up as a result of a collaboration between HKRITA and Novetex Textiles Limited.
The facilities are a result of an innovative partnership with HKRITA to accelerate research in textile recycling; and to speed up the development of a closed loop for textiles to safeguard the environment.
In September 2017, a year into the four-year long partnership with the foundation, HKRITA came up with the hydrothermal method of recycling cotton and polyester blends — which used to be considered unrecyclable — into new fibers.
Meanwhile, the chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Lam Cheng Yuet-Ngor, and Yang Weixiong, the secretary for Innovation and Technology Bureau attended the opening ceremony of a new pre-industrial size facility using this technology.
Speaking at the event, Lam Cheng said that when it came to waste textiles, the region produced 120,000 tons in 2016. And she said that the new environmental production line would help the reindustrialization of the region.
She also added that the government is devoted to promoting reindustrialization by providing infrastructure, financial resources, technical support, and training.
Separately, the innovation lead of the H&M Foundation, Erik Bang said: “This (recycling) is a significant step toward a new fashion industry that operates within the planetary boundaries.
“And as we scale up and make this technology freely available to the industry, we will reduce the dependence on limited natural resources to dress a growing global population.”
Also, alongside the miniaturized Garment-To-Garment Recycling System a retail shop selling recycled garments was opened. So, customers can bring in their unwanted clothes, and watch the containersized system recycle their garments.
“Seeing is believing, and when customers see what a valuable resource garments at end of life can be, they will take to recycling and recognize the difference their actions can make,” says Bang.
The Garment-To-Garment Recycling System is the result of collaboration between HKRITA, the H&M Foundation and a textile-recycling mill and local spinning mill. The sys-
The Garment-To-Garment Recycling System.
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