New Tech Allows Clothing to be Disassembled for Recycling

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Clothing
A new British group has developed a new “eco-stitching” technology that allows clothing to be disassembled and upcycled. Photo: Flickr/USDAgov

A British group of clothing retailers, manufacturers and textile recyclers known as SUSCORP has developed a new “eco-stitch” technology called wear2. The new textile process technology allows garments to be “selectively disassembled at end of life,” according to the wear2 website.

Wear2 technology allows zippers, buttons, fastenings, tags, logos, linings and other materials to be removed from clothing without damage to surrounding fabric. Garments essentially fall apart on command, making it easier to recover and reuse pure fibers.

This technology carries many potential benefits, including keeping clothes out of landfills, lowering carbon emissions and reducing water and energy consumption associated with production.

The group says wear2 is compatible with current manufacturing equipment, and hopes clothing and fashion sectors will see the economic and environmental benefits of the new technology.

“The lack of effective disassembly technologies and absence of design protocols for handling clothing at the end of its life have, until now, acted as barriers to a profitable, sustainable clothing operation,” the group says on the wear2 website.

According to SUSCORP, about one million tons of clothing is sent to landfills every year in the United Kingdom alone. The group estimates that over 60 percent of this total could be potentially upcycled into new products using the wear2 technology.

“The potential benefits of wear2 from both an economic and environmental standpoint are large,” says the group.