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Teijin to recycle polyester textiles at plant in china

Teijin to recycle polyester textiles at plant in china Source:
Date: 06-12-2012
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Cast-off polyester clothing and waste from the garment industry is to be recycled at a plant in China, in a process which shreds the fabric and filters out impurities to obtain as-new polyester fibers.

Industrial-materials manufacturer Teijin Ltd. said it has developed the world's first polyester-fiber recycling technology and plans to build a recycling plant in China.

"The Chinese government has put a premium on eco-friendly businesses," said Nobuyoshi Miyasaka, a representative of the company's high-performance fibers division. "There is a strong possibility of expansion in this."

The plant will consume old clothes and offcuts from local garment factories and generate an estimated 20,000 tons of polyester fiber annually with sales of 10 billion yen ($121.3 million), Teijin said. Construction of the plant will begin shortly, with a view to beginning operations by the end of fiscal 2013.

Teijin said the project will cost 6 billion yen. It will run the venture together with partner Seiko Holdings Group in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province. Its interests include both the fiber industry and construction.

Fiber extraction is a complex process compared with traditional recycling.
Materials such as plastic bottles can be melted down and turned into fibers, but it is difficult to remove impurities such as dyes. Therefore, blends of multiple materials, such as colored clothing fabric, are generally not recycled. Furthermore, the fibers degrade significantly in quality.

Teijin’s process produces pure, undegraded polyester. It shreds original fabrics and then creates granules, which are dissolved in a chemical treatment to remove impurities.
The fibers are as good as new, and reconstituted materials are said to have the same properties as new polyester.

Teijin has utilized its new technology within the Eco-circle sustainability project, a venture promoting efficiency and re-use involving 150 Japanese and foreign companies.

There is an added economic imperative for recycling polyester at a time of elevated energy prices: Crude oil is consumed in its manufacture.
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