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HONG KONG – The world’s largest denim manufacturer, ISKO, has entered a licensing agreement with textile research and development company Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA). The agreement is for the Green Machine, which uses a hydrothermal process to separate cotton and polyester blends.

The technology is still in the pilot stage, but the move is part of a broader drive by ISKO to improve and commercialise textile recycling technologies so that it can offer post-consumer recycling solution to all of its customers.

In addition, ISKO and HKRITA will work together to develop related technology.

“ISKO has a total commitment to sustainability and through our Responsible Innovation approach, we are constantly looking for new ways of working towards the future of a fully circular fashion industry. Our investment in this new technology is another milestone towards our full circularity vision,” said ISKO CEO, Fatih Konukoğlu.

The Green Machine uses an innovative and ultra-efficient hydrothermal treatment method that decomposes cotton into cellulose powders and enables the separation of polyester fibres from blended fabrics. The process is a closed loop and uses only water, heat and less than 5 per cent biodegradable green chemicals.

Crucially, this method does not damage the polyester fibres and therefore maintains their quality; the cellulose powders, which are clean and toxic-free, can be used in a variety of ways.

“The Green Machine is a ground-breaking recycling technology. Seeing this project become truly commercially viable is wonderful. We are excited to learn that ISKO recognises our innovation and applies this recycling solution into its production. The Green Machine will definitely become another green credential of ISKO,” said Mr. Edwin Keh, chief executive officer of HKRITA.

A version of the ‘Green Machine’ is already and running at the Indonesian textile plant of PT Kahatex. The plant sees PT Kahatex using waste (fibres, yarn and fabric) from manufacturing as feedstock to create new yarns and fibres which can be used to produce garments.

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