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Seiko Epson Harnesses Paper Recycling Technology to Recover Fibers from Clothing

Seiko Epson plans to launch a clothing recycling business using its paper recycling technology by 2025. The company's method aims to recover over 50% of fibers, with a long-term goal of achieving 100% recovery. Seiko Epson has partnered with the Hong Kong Research and Development Center for Textiles and Apparel to develop the technology.

In a bold move to combat the fast fashion industry, the European Union is set to implement a ban on the disposal of unsold clothing next year. Seiko Epson, the Japanese electronics company, is planning to capitalise on this opportunity by launching a clothing recycling business as early as 2025, using its innovative paper recycling technology.


Traditional methods of recycling clothes involve cutting them with a rotating blade to extract fibers, but this process only achieves a fiber recovery rate of around 10% and requires a significant amount of fresh cotton material to maintain strength. Seiko Epson's groundbreaking method, on the other hand, is said to recover over 50% of fibers, with the ultimate goal of reaching 100% recovery.


To develop this revolutionary technology, Seiko Epson has partnered with the Hong Kong Research and Development Center for Textiles and Apparel, which has expertise in advanced spinning technology. The center has strong connections with global clothing giants, including financial support from Swedish clothing company H&M.

Seiko Epson plans to leverage these relationships to establish sales channels with clothing manufacturers worldwide, ensuring the widespread adoption of their recycling solution.


The European Parliament reports that global clothing production reached a staggering 109 million tonnes in 2020, a significant increase from 58 million tonnes in 2000, and is projected to rise to 145 million tonnes by 2030. The production of raw materials such as cotton and hemp consumes vast amounts of water and fossil fuels, leading to concerns about resource depletion and energy waste associated with the fast fashion industry.


The EU is taking the lead in implementing regulations to address these issues, and its actions are likely to have a ripple effect globally. In Japan, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry has also recognized the need to reduce waste and has begun discussions on creating rules to promote recycling and reuse of clothing.


Seiko Epson is not alone in its efforts to improve sustainability in the fashion industry. Fast Retailing, the parent company of Uniqlo, has partnered with material company Toray to launch recycled down jackets, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20% in the production process. Patagonia, a prominent outdoor goods supplier in the US, aims to make all its products from recycled and environmentally sourced materials by 2025, while H&M has set a target of achieving the same by 2030.


The textile reclamation market is predicted to reach a value of $9.4 billion by 2027, a significant increase of nearly 40% from 2022, according to Indian research firm MarketsandMarkets.


Seiko Epson, facing a decline in earnings from its traditional office equipment business due to a drop in paper demand, is determined to secure new sources of revenue. The company aims to develop new businesses with sales reaching 10 billion yen (US$67.9 million) by 2025.

 
  • Seiko Epson plans to launch a clothing recycling business using its paper recycling technology by 2025.

  • The company's method aims to recover over 50% of fibers, with a long-term goal of achieving 100% recovery.

  • Seiko Epson has partnered with the Hong Kong Research and Development Center for Textiles and Apparel to develop the technology.


Source: NIKKEI ASIA

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