The Teijin Group announced the first program in China for collecting and recycling used uniforms, launched in collaboration with Shandong Asahi Green Source Hi-Tech Farm Co., Ltd. and Shandong Asahi Green Source Milk Products Co., Ltd., both subsidiaries of Asahi Group Holdings. The uniforms will be recycled using Teijin's Eco Circle, an environmentally friendly closed-loop system incorporating the world's first technology for the chemical recycling of polyester, which Teijin Fibers introduced in 2002.
As part of the program, Teijin Fibers' chemically recyclable polyester fiber is woven into textiles and dyed by Nantong Teijin Co., Ltd, a Teijin Group company in Nantong on the east coast of China. This month, high-warmth uniforms made with the recyclable textile were distributed to the some 200 employees of the two companies based in Shandong Province, also on the east coast, which produce and sell vegetables, fruits and milk.
The uniforms will be collected after their useful lives and sent to Teijin Fibers' Matsuyama plant in Japan. After chemical decomposition, they will be converted into polyester raw material offering purity comparable to polyester derived directly from petroleum. The raw material will then be turned into high-quality polyester for the manufacture of new recyclable products.
Repeated recycling achieved with the Eco Circle system significantly reduces both energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions compared to conventional petroleum-based processes for polyester production.
Teijin is working with more than 150 apparel and sportswear manufacturers worldwide to develop and manufacture products made from recyclable materials, as well as to collect and recycle these products at the end of their useful lives. The manufacturers include well-known brands such as Patagonia Inc. in the U.S., Henri Lloyd in the U.K. and Quiksilver Europe in France. In China, Teijin has been collaborating with Li Ning, the nation's largest sports apparel brand, since 2009.
Nantong Teijin, which has been steadily strengthening its presence in China's sportswear and apparel markets, is now expanding into the growing field for uniforms. "We are pleased to collaborate with Asahi Group Holdings' two Shandong Asahi Green Source subsidiaries under a mutual commitment to sustainability through recycling," said Hirotaka Nakagawa, president of Nantong Teijin. "With environmental consciousness steadily rising in China, Teijin is witnessing a growing interest in its Eco Circle program. We will continue to pursue and expand our environmental initiatives in this fast-growing market."