Taiwan textile business unveils pioneering recycling tech

Victoria Gallagher | 10th October 2018

TAIPEI – Taiwanese polyester and textile manufacturer, Far Eastern New Century Corp, has unveiled pioneering new recycling technology that converts discarded textile waste streams into fresh feedstock for other industries. The business has revealed an all-in-one chemical recycling solution for post-consumer waste textiles, which it claims will support the circular economy movement and help maintain its leadership in smart textile innovation.

The firm’s new process can help recycle polyester from all types of used textiles, including mixed streams. Initially, post-consumer textiles are separated without a need for additional decolouring or use of complex solvents. Polyester is then dissolved and the mixed polymers and dyestuffs are filtered out. Cellulose is isolated in the process and converted into energy-dense fuel rods which can generate electricity.

The technology offers further evidence that there is more than one way to close the loop in textiles, with many believing a more pragmatic – and logistically and financially viable – option is to use old textile waste streams to provide feedstock for other industries.

“The solution, FENC TopGreen rTex, closes the loop of current PET recycling, diverting what was once destined for landfills to value-added new consumer goods,” FENC president Eric Hu told a news conference in Taipei. FENC will also reveal several other environmental innovations at the forthcoming TITAS exhibition which takes place in Taiwan and is one of the world’s leading technical textile shows.

Taipei-based NEC supplies polyester-related materials to major global sports, outdoor, leisure and fast fashion brands.

Recycled products accounted for 26 per cent of FENC offering last year and their share is rapidly expanding. A manufacturing facility in Japan is adding 50,000 tonnes of annual capacity by 2020 to meet rising demand ahead of the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

FENC has also approved plans to build a plant in the Philippines that would add 36,000 tonnes of annual capacity.