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Recycling of used clothing to undergo revolution
Mar '10
A textile project of the European Union has developed a machine which is capable of sorting used items of clothing, chemical composition wise and colour wise, after which these clothing are shredded to be spun in to yarn, which can again be re-used for producing fresh textile fabrics.

According to Ellen Van Den Adel, owner of 'Work on Progress', which is jointly working on the 'Textiles 4 Textiles' project with other like-minded organizations, 50 percent of the used garments collected from the Netherlands as well as UK cannot be reused, hence must be recycled.

Currently, sorters are not able to differentiate between different chemical compositions of the fabric, but this machine with the help of using near infra-red technology, will determine what the material is made out of and what colour it is, using air-stream technology to separate the various kinds of clothing.

After which, by means of a shredder, the sorted clothing is turned in to fibre and now is once again ready to be turned in to yarn, in turn in to fabrics and then in to spanking new garments. It is expected that the machine will be able to sort around 4,000 tons of used clothing per year.

This machine is expected to bring in a revolution as most of the used clothing which cannot be reused goes in to landfills, thereby creating environmental pollution. Secondly, the cost of hand sorting clothing in the European Union is very prohibitive, hence, it is not possible to recover the cost.

Consumer environment consciousness though has brought in a change in the amount of used clothing that is recycled in the last few years. For instance, textiles collected for reuse and recycling has grown substantially in the last five years, reaching 523,000 tons in 2008 compared to 324,000 tons in 2003.

At the same time the volume of textiles and clothing discarded as municipal solid waste has decreased from 1,165,000 tons to 1,081,000 tons, from which it can be safely inferred that, the overall reuse and recycling rate has increased from 22 percent to 33 percent.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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