New textile technology

Posted by on mar 1, 2013 in Sustainability Mission | 2 comments

New textile technology

Microwaves aid textile recycling

LEEDS – Innovative new textile technology, which uses microwaveable yarns to allow clothes to be quickly disassembled, aims to boost textiles sustainability, give cost savings and improve the overall end-of-life performance of garments.

The new ‘Wear2’ technology is a newly developed type of yarn, which is bonded into clothing seams and on items such as zips, buttons, fastenings and other ‘contras’ that currently contaminate recycled fibre. Following a microwave treatment, which zaps garments in a specially designed machine, researchers at the University of Leeds say that the Wear2 seam can be easily taken apart, enabling the subsequent recovery of higher quality fibres from the disassembled garments.

The technology is initially focused on the corporate market where, by using Wear 2, corporate-branded garments could potentially be de-branded for re-use, and unused items be rebranded – as an alternative to shredding, landfill or incineration,

Dr Andrew Hewitt, grants manager & technical project manager at the Centre for Technical Textiles, University of Leeds, told Ecotextile News: “The yarn is key to the technology and can be manufactured in a range of colours and decitex. The initial remit of the development project was to look at de-branding corporate clothing, but as the technology progressed it became clear it could also be exploited to remove fastenings and labels and allow complete or partial disassembly of garments. We are concentrating on apparel at the moment, but of course there are other potential applications too.”

Hewitt and his associates in the SUSCORP consortium – which also includes George at Asda, Oxfam Waste Saver and Royal Mail Group Limited – believe Wear2 opens the door for the clothing industry to re-use material to supplement or replace virgin fibre in new garments. Potentially, this could save raw material costs, ease supply constraints and reduce environmental impact in a closed loop system.

The technology was developed by the SUSCORP consortium and co-financed by The Technology Strategy Board, a business-led body sponsored by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS).

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