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UK comes up with fashionable recycling solution

United Kingdom – The SUSCORP consortium, a project co-financed by the UK Technology Strategy Board, has developed an innovation for the fashion and recycling industry; a new textile process technology which ‘allows garments to be selectively disassembled at end of life’ ‘€“ called wear2.

‘By engineering durable garments that literally fall apart into its component parts on command, the new process provides a unique means to recover pure fibre, reuse corporate clothing or up-cycle garments,’ states the consortium, believing that the patent-protected discovery will enable the textile sector to become more sustainable as well as profitable.

Wear2 may be incorporated into any apparel item, ranging from zippers, buttons, fastenings, linings and other ”contras” as it is ‘compatible with current manufacturing equipment’, the group points out. This means that currently contaminate recycled fibre can be easily removed prior to recycling. The ability to recover pure fibre is predicted to ‘open the door for the clothing industry to re-use material to supplement or replace virgin fibre in new garments’.

‘The lack of effective disassembly technologies and absence of design protocols for the handling of clothing at the end of its life have, until now, acted as barriers to a profitable, sustainable clothing operation,’ asserts the consortium. A breakthrough in this area was highly needed, it argues, urging that approximately 1 million tonnes of clothing is landfilled in the UK alone every year. ‘By adopting the wear2 process, over 60% of this total could potentially be re-processed.’

The SUSCORP project comprises many different players who collaborated over a three-year period; including the University of Leeds’ Centre for Technical Textiles, textile recycler Oxfam Waste Saver, research and development specialist C-Tech Innovation and life cycle analysis company GnoSys UK.

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