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H&M Foundation and HKRITA to open textile recycling facilities in Hong Kong

By Marjorie van Elven

5 Sep 2018

The H&M Foundation and The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA) have announced the opening of two textile recycling facilities which will put HKRITA’s hydrothermal method for recycling cotton and polyester blends to use. Blends are the most used type of textile in the world -- yet, they are still unrecyclable.

“This is a significant step towards a new fashion industry that operates within the planetary boundaries”, said Erik Bang, Innovation Lead at H&M Foundation, in a statement. “As we scale up and make this technology freely available to the industry, we will reduce the dependence on limited natural resources to dress a growing global population”.

H&M and HKRITA added that the purpose of the facilities is to invite fashion companies and their stakeholders to see, test and implement the technology. “HKRITA will license the results widely to make it available to all and enable a bigger impact”, read the joint statement.

The facilities will also feature a miniaturized garment-to-garment recycling system which will be open to the public. At the end of the visit, shoppers will be able to buy the recycled garments. “Seeing is believing, and when customers see with their own eyes what a valuable resource garments at the end of life can be, they can also believe in recycling”, pondered Bang.

The facilities will be located at the Novetex Factory in Tai Po Industrial Estate, Hong Kong. The opening date has not been disclosed. The H&M Foundation is set to invest 5.8 million euro (approximately 7 million US dollars) in the project, over the next four years.

HKRITA and the H&M Foundation have been partners since 2016. H&M intends to spend a total of 30 million euros in joint textile recycling projects between 2016 and 2020.