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Old clothes to fuel Japan’s airplanes

Asia – Japan Airlines has announced plans to transform used clothing into jet fuel. It is hoped the unique recycling project will make a big difference in a country that disposes of 1.97 million tons of textiles annually – roughly enough to fill three baseball stadiums.

Japan’s flag carrier has partnered with recycling firm Japan Environmental Planning – better known as Jeplan – and Tokyo’s Green Earth Institute to establish a collaborative council to begin testing the cotton-derived alternative energy source by 2020. Also, a commercial recycling plant is planned for 2030.

One hundred tons of cotton yields an estimated 10 kilolitres of fuel. It has been calculated that recycling all of Japan’s cotton could generate 70 000 kilolitres of fuel every year.

Jeplan is already working with 12 retailers – including Aeon and Muji parent Ryohin Keikaku – to collect end-of-life clothing at more than 1000 stores across the country.

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