According to a waste statistics from Greenpeace in 2015, people in Hong Kong throw away 110,000 tonnes of textile products annually. Among these textiles wastes, there is a substantial amount made from blended materials. However, no commercially viable separation, sorting, and recycling technologies are currently available for materials such as cotton and polyester blends.
Looop recycling system
Looop is created by the non-profit H&M Foundation, together with research partner HKRITA (The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel) and Hong Kong-based yarn spinner Novetex Textiles to develop practical solutions to recycle blended textiles into new fabrics and yarns.
The objective of the collaboration is to facilitate the development of a closed loop textiles industry. The technology will be licensed widely to ensure broad market access and maximum impact.
H&M Foundation has installed a machine the size of a shipping container called Looop in its store in the Drottninggatan shopping district of Stockholm.
It invites customers to bring a garment they’re planning to discard—say, an old T-shirt or cotton dress—and watch it get broken down, then rewoven into a sweater, scarf, or baby blanket through the glass walls of the machine. The process takes about five hours, but when it’s complete, the customer can pay $15 for the finished item.
H&M Group also recently announced that it has invested in Petri Alava’s Finnish biotech firm Infinited Fiber, which has found a way to liquefy bio-based fibers—such as cotton or viscose—then transform the fibers into a range of fabrics—for instance, jersey and denim.
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