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Hong Kong's HKRITA, Gap collaborate on circular economy

Nov '19
Pic: Gap Inc
Pic: Gap Inc
The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA) will work with global apparel retailer Gap Inc. to foster sustainable development of the textile industry. The joint aim is to develop eco-friendly production processes and technology solutions that enable the industry to move from a linear model to a circular model across the life-cycle of textiles.

Two initial research areas have been identified: separation of spandex from used garments and denim decolourisation for recycling.

Spandex is a common material used to improve the stretch and comfort of fabric. However, the textile industry is currently unable to separate spandex in an eco-friendly and circular manner from blended fabrics like cotton-spandex blend.

A research project, which sees HKRITA partnering with creative textile manufacturer Artistic Milliners, is being designed to develop an eco-friendly separation method that removes spandex using bio-solvents.

In this way, the separated materials can be re-used by the textile industry, according to an HKRITA press release.

The second research area will tackle denim decolourisation, a long-standing problem in the textile industry. Currently, common industry practice involves chemical treatment, but this method can harm fabric properties and create negative environmental impacts. This project will also join hands with Indian denim manufacturer Arvind Limited to develop a physical method to decolour the denim, so that the cotton can be more easily reused or re-dyed.

The duration of the two research projects will be 24 months and the technologies developed from them will be open for licensing.

Established in 2006, HKRITA is funded by the Innovation and Technology Commission of the Hong Kong government and hosted by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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November 2019

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