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by Deepak Mohindra

05-December-2019  |  4 mins read


There is a lot of information floating around the concept of ‘circular economy’, but the reality is that there are many questions that still remain unanswered. And most of these questions are centred around the processes and technologies that facilitate circular economy.

There is a lot of mix-up – colour-wise and dyewise – in the material to be recycled which need segregation before/during recycling. How is that segregated or is the fabric/garment bleached first? What is the process?

• How is yarn made from the fibre pulp that is extracted after the bleaching process? What are the end products that can be made from this yarn?

• During recycling, how is water used in the process treated to separate the chemical. For which purpose is this chemical used?

• In the process of recycling, how robust is the technology available and what is the ROI and commercial viability? • Polyester recycling faces many challenges, ranging from cotton blended polyester to hard-to-remove residues. Has industry been able to overcome this challenge and ensure effective cleaning and filtering process?

• Is the technology for polyester recycling similar to that applied in pet bottles or something different?

• There is a heating process in polyester garment/ fabric recycling. Does heating process de-colourise the granules of polyester material?

• Can a single technology handle different fibre types in the recycling process? • Critical to everything is aggregation and segregation of the industrial waste – how to maintain this continuous flow?

These are but a few of these questions that need to be answered for effective implementation of a circular economy. I just attended a conference dedicated to the subject and was disappointed that people are still talking about concepts, not practical implementations.

Upon dwelling deeper, I feel that the talk around circular economy is actually incomplete. How can the textile industry have a circular economy if we are using pet bottles to get yarn? Should not the industry be talking about recycling its own waste? How can an industry close a circle that does not start from its by-products?

While we struggle to find answers to new concepts, StitchWorld (SW) continues to update and provide inputs that are commercially viable. This issue revolves around ‘Athleisure’ which is an emerging product category worldwide, including India. Since fabric functionality is the topmost requirement for producing activewear, our lead story sheds light on the subject by analysing in-depth the new trends in fabric and its innovations. To help our readers understand the manufacturing of such garments, we have also talked about the manufacturing technologies and the raw material required for the same.

To add further value, an interview with US-based apparel consultant Katherine Schildmeyer enlightens the industry about what’s new in heat transfer and sublimation applications, a big trend in athleisurewear today.

A major challenge today in retail is inventory management, which is becoming an arduous task for brands and retailers at a time when they are planning to diversify into all retail business models including online, offline and omnichannel. Since the inventory is centralised for every business model, challenges are obvious. Team SW got in touch with Unicommerce and Vinculum to understand how the technology can be the saviour for the industry in inventory management.

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