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Hong Kong mill Novetex uses innovative ways to separate fabric blends

Novetex, a Honk Kong-based textile spinning mill is harnessing pioneering recycling technology to make the fashion industry more sustainable. Novetex uses new technology to separate fabric blends in waste garments and produce yarn. The mill will carry out mechanical recycling, where soiled or damaged fabrics - such as old uniforms or hotel curtains - are sanitised, with buttons and zippers removed, then sorted and stored.

Once an order comes in for a certain color, the material is UV-sterilised before being cut into pieces and spun into yarn. No water or dye is needed, and only small amounts of virgin material are used. The mill will also test a system to separate cotton and polyester blends using only heat, water and small quantities of biodegradable chemicals.

Hong Kong wants to encourage its 7.3 million people to move away from a take-make-dispose model towards a more circular economy where waste is reused. The city wants to be a leader in sustainable fashion.

Clothing companies around the world doubled the amount of garments they made from 2000 to 2014. Over the same period, the number of garments bought each year, per person, jumped 60 per cent. That has led to a stream of clothing purchased and thrown away, tossed as waste and going into landfills.