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Uniqlo is turning old plastic bottles into new clothes

Posted: 1 October 2019 10:48 am

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Image: Instagram user uniqloau

Uniqlo has become the latest brand to make moves towards becoming more sustainable by making select pieces of clothing out of plastic bottles.

In partnership with Toray Industries, Uniqlo looks to use fibres created from used and then recycled polyethylene terephthalate bottles. These fibres will be used to make new fabrics, which will then be made into clothing starting next year.

One of the biggest issues facing the recycling industry is looking for ways to repurpose recycled materials. It's all well and good to recycle something, but then you have to use the recycled material to offset the demand for new products, otherwise you've just used extra energy recycling something that may end up in the bin. So, Uniqlo's new sustainability strategy will help to find a home and purpose for recycled material.

Uniqlo also has plans to start collecting old down jackets and recycle these too. The collection process just kicked off in Japan but will expand to other countries. Toray Industries will be helping with this process as well, providing a new technology that allows the jackets to be repurposed more efficiently – normally this a process done by hand. The salvaged fibres will then be used to make other down clothing.

Tadashi Yanai chairman president and chief executive officer at Fast Retailing (which owns Uniqlo) said of the new venture:

"Young people are especially conscious of sustainability. European consumers have high awareness. I'm confident that (the new products) will be accepted."

"Uniqlo is committed to improving the sustainability of society."

"To this end, we will soon begin our new initiative with Toray that promotes the use of recycled materials. Through such an important partnership, we can continue to offer high-performance, high-quality, and sustainable clothing to all customers around the world."

So, when are we going to see the recycled pieces on shelves? Well, Uniqlo plans to have the new pieces on sale in next year's spring-summer collection. They'll be available in Singapore, other Asian markets and hopefully in Australia too.

Check out more stories about sustainability and how you can get involved at Green Finder.

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