The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel Limited (HKRITA) and Sweden’s H&M Foundation have launched an ambitious project to address textile waste in Cambodia. It is led by Green Machine, the world’s first technology that can recycle blend textiles at scale, which will contribute to a better future for people of Cambodia and the planet.
The fashion supply chain ranges from production of fibres to the retail channels. However, it is at the manufacturing stages where the most harmful environmental effects are created. The processes are resource intensive in which large amounts of water and chemicals are used. Moreover, an estimated 10-15% of the total fabric used to produce garments currently becomes waste already at the cutting stage. Today, most of it ends up in landfill or is burnt.
The Green Machine, developed by HKRITA with the support from H&M Foundation, is the world’s first technology that can separate and recycle polyester and cotton blend textiles at scale without any quality loss. Recycling of single materials has long been possible, but the recycling of blends, and cotton and polyester blends being the world’s most common type of textile, has not. The Green Machine has changed the game. The process uses only heat, water and less than 15 per cent of a biodegradable chemical to separate cotton and polyester materials in a closed loop system.
“Better waste management will have a positive impact on communities’ resources such as water, air quality and land use. This will reduce long term stress factors and sources for conflict of different kinds. It will also create new jobs and a sense of pride,” Marc Beckmann, project director of GIZ Fabric, said in a statement.