Partnership of Hong Kong textile institute and H&M

nach Quelle:, "Recycling in a revolutionary partnership", 15. November 2016

The Hong Kong textile institute and H&M are going to work together to develop on a recycling fabric. Many unwanted garments still end up in landfills, or are downcycled into insulation, carpeting or other low-value applications. This poses environmental problems. Most of the clothes are made of cellulose-based fabric like cotton, protein-based fabrics such as silk or cotton, or petroleum-based polyester. That makes them difficult to recycle. The Hong Kong textile institute was chosen by the H&M foundation because of its strong focus on applied research and mission to make research useful, scalable and commercially viable. The H&M foundation wants to strengthen the impact on the industry by solving the challenge of recycling brands. The technique the institute is exploring is similar to the fermentation of beer. There are many advantages of this type of recycling. The scientists used enzymes to break thing down, which means there is no mechanical process or energy. They are able to separate at least two out of three of the materials and turn the cellulosic fibres into sugars and starches and polymise into fabric again. The other series of projects is chemical. They use ionic fluids as well as a hydrothermal approach to separate materials. No other institution is doing research on that field currently. The aim for the next years is to find a cost-effective solution – be that biological or chemical – that can be rolled out on an industrial scale and potentially create a new industry that can process the materials. 

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