Teijin develops tech for recycling discarded polyester apparel

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2023-04-11 19:09:14 – Japan

Teijin Frontier, the Japanese Teijin Group’s fibres and products converting company, has developed new technology to remove polyurethane (PU) elastane fibres from discarded polyester apparel.

During the pretreatment stage of the chemical recycling process, a new processing agent is utilized, helping to raise the caliber of the recovered polyester fiber. The new method not only removes the elastane fiber but also extraneous substances like colors.

Since October 2022, Teijin Frontier has been testing this revolutionary technology.

The company is collaborating with the supply chain as part of its polyester-focused project to create a holistic ecosystem that includes clothing collecting, sorting, and recycling. Teijin Frontier is optimistic that its novel technique for removing unwanted objects will contribute to the growth of fiber-to-fibre recycling.

The new method causes the PU elastane fibers to swell, disintegrate, and break their chemical bonds. The processing agent can be collected and reused to reduce environmental burden and system costs. By using this technique, recycled polyester materials can be produced that can be recycled chemically.

PU elastane-infused stretchable polyester clothing is growing in popularity as the demand for fast-drying, wrinkle-resistant, and comfortable apparel rises. However, conventional chemical recycling technology only produces items that are 100% polyester, and when elastanes are added to the mix, the quality of the recycled product degrades.

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