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Tech-upgradation leads to mass scale textile recycling
Aug '08
Recent studies have shown that improvement in technology has led to a significant increase in textile recycling programs in Japan.

Every year, discharge of textiles related products from homes and factories as waste amounts to two million metric tons, or 4.4 billion pounds, of which clothing accounts for nearly 50 percent. Only 13 percent of the waste generated by clothing is recycled by various companies.

A majority of these waste textiles is being recycled using traditional methods that have been in practice for several years. Thereafter, the recovered products are exported as second hand clothes to Asian countries, cut into small pieces for use as duster cloth in factories or reused in making felt and gloves.

However, in an exclusive interview with Fibre2fashion, Mr Akihiro Omatsuzawa, Chief of Technical Group of Japan Chemical Fibers Association (JCFA) explained, "New recycling efforts have begun in areas of chemical fiber products using unconventional processes that take advantage of product characteristics, for instance, re-melting fiber to produce finished products or chemically decomposing and restoring it to the raw material stage."

According to data made available to Fibre2fashion by the association, the amount of fibre waste generated, during the production process of there major fibres like Polyester, Acrylic and Nylon amounted to 849,000 tons in 2006. Of this 40,600 tons was generated as fibre waste and again from which 39,800 tons was recycled to get a recycling ratio of 98 percent compared to a ratio of 93 percent in 2001.

Expectations are high on future developments of total recycling technology in which fibers are chemically decomposed and restored to the raw material stage, a method not accompanied by quality degradation.

Mr Akihiro further informed that while industrial scale chemical recycling of polyester is undertaken by a number of companies including Teijin and Asahi Kasei that of nylon is done by Toray. This is one of the eco-conscious technologies on which Japan has developed a head start and set a example for other countries to follow suit.

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