Taiwan gets a great stage and sales opportunity for its innovative fabrics made of recycled plastic bottles at FIFA World Cup 2014. FIFA estimates that the 2014 World Cup will generate US$40 billion in revenues, and with the apparel industry the major beneficiary, a potential jackpot awaits for the Taiwanese enterprises that have turned waste into gold.
The fabric traces its origins back to the 1990s, when Taiwanese producers needed to respond to declining orders that were being diverted to China to take advantage of its cheap labor.
The fabrics is a creation of environmental necessity in a country that consumes 4.5 billion plastic bottles a year and of commercial necessity to reinvent itself after have lost many of its orders to low-cost China in the 1990s.
Now, with several teams wearing jerseys made of these innovative fabrics in Brazil after they were first introduced in South Africa four years ago, Taiwan's 23 million residents have already won their World Cup.
Taiwanese textile suppliers as Ecomax Textile, Singtex Industrial, Eclat Textile and Super Textile eventually became the pioneers in turning plastic bottles, made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), into fabrics, and they now have a 70 percent share of the bottle-based fiber market.
According to Super Textile Chairman Alex Lo, the PET bottles need about 400 years to decompose, posing a big threat to the environment in a country that has little spare room for dumping waste, recycling was the best approach to deal with the problem.
Moreover, the PET fabrics are good at absorbing water and light, and use about 30 percent less electricity during the production process than other materials.
Taiwan’s PET fabrics and jerseys are getting so popular that to meet the increasing demand, the country now even has to import PET bottles.
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