Recycling Technology 2020
The patented Billie line is almost entirely
automated, and able to process up to three
tonnes of recycled fibre every day. Chao says
the fibre can be further blended with virgin
material to produce yarn for various products
The Billie System comprises 6 key stages:
• Textile waste sanitation: garments are puri-
fied via an ozone sanitisation system. The
ozone is disposed as oxygen into the air.
• Hardware removal: non-fibre objects and
trims from the clothing are removed manu-
• Automatic colour sorting: trimmed fabrics
are sent to the camera to be sorted into nine
colour ranges by reading colour reflections
from the swatches.
• Fibre processing: The colour-sorted swatch-
es are transferred automatically by the Au-
tomatic Guide Vehicle into our mechanical
recycling process, which breaks down the
fabrics into fibres.
• UV light sanitation: The fibres go through
two stages of UV light sanitisation.
• Sliver processing: The 100% recycled fibres
are processed into slivers.
Chao proudly states that the Billie System
has received global recognition. It has earned
a Gold Medal in the International Exhibition of
Inventions of Geneva and a Bronze prize in the
2019 Hong Kong Green Innovations Awards.
She points out that more than 300 tonnes of
textile waste goes to landfill every day in Hong
Kong. Novetex developed the innovative sys-
tem in cooperation with the Hong Kong Re-
search Institute of Textiles and Apparel.
A passport for your clothes
Natasha Franck, founder and ceo of fash-
ion technology company EON, knows how
difficult it is to figure out what fibres are in
clothing – and even more difficult to separate
these fibres and recycle them into new fabrics.
She believes the first step towards optimising
the world’s entire textiles sector is to create a
smart system that allows us to trace the ori-
gins of each individual garment.
To this end, Franck launched the Con-
nect Fashion Global Initiative in mid-2019.
This operates based on the new CircularID
standard and, as the name suggests, it creates
a virtual replica of a physical product. The
digital identifier may be a QR Code, Radio-
frequency ID or Near Field Communication
ID printed onto or woven into the physical
product. Through interactions – scanning,
tapping or photography – the product’s digital
profile can be accessed.
These technologies are the same ones used
to store information on price tags for secu-
rity and inventory purposes, Franck explains.
She proposes not simply printing the prod-
uct details on the label but rather embedding
them into the fibres themselves. According to
Franck, incorporating some sort of microchip
Entrepreneur Natasha Franck believes the CircularID will make it possible to trace used clothes anywhere in the world.
Chemical recycling breakthrough from Taiwan
Taiwanese textile supplier Far Eastern New Century (FENC) has developed an ‘all-in-one’
chemical recycling solution for mixed polyester textiles. ‘During the chemical process,
polyester is dissolved and the mixed polymers or dyes are filtered out,’ says FENC of its
innovative solution. The isolated cellulose is then converted into energy-dense fuel rods
that can be used to generate electricity.
The new recycling method, which can also handle Spandex-blended polyester fabrics, has
been presented at the TITAS exhibition in Taipei. The ‘smart textiles’ solution is named
TopGreen rTex, according to FENC’s president Eric Hu. ‘It closes the loop of current PET
recycling, diverting what was once destined for landfills to value-added new consumer
goods,’ he says.
The EU-funded Resyntex research project has been working on another chemical recy-
cling solution. Researchers have managed to transform recycled textiles into adhesives
which can be used in the manufacture of new wood-based panels for flooring.
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