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Waste classification: How is textile waste classified?


Time: 2019-10-11 10:54

Recently, the waste sorting screen has been hotly debated. According to the survey data of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, more than two-thirds of China's cities are surrounded by garbage, and one-fourth of the cities have no suitable place to pile up garbage, and the accumulated waste has occupied 800,000 mu of land. Following the formal implementation of strict garbage classification in Shanghai on July 1, Beijing also announced that it will implement garbage classification. By the end of 2020, 45 other cities, including Guangzhou and Shenzhen, will basically have a waste sorting system.

How to classify textile waste?

According to the newly introduced legislation in Shanghai, Shanghai's garbage classification is divided into four categories: dry garbage, wet garbage, hazardous garbage and recyclables. Different from Shanghai, Beijing's garbage classification standard divides garbage into kitchen waste, hazardous waste, other garbage and recyclables.

Dry waste is mainly used for incineration to generate electricity. At present, the incineration capacity of dry garbage in Shanghai reaches 19,300 tons per day, accounting for about 90% of the amount of dry garbage generated. With the advancement of garbage classification, the moisture content of dry garbage has been greatly reduced, and the number of unqualified "dry materials" has been significantly reduced, improving the continuity and stability of garbage incineration.

▲ Recyclables are sent to renewable resource companies for use

Shanghai produces 3,312 tons of recyclables every day. After sorting and selection, it will be packaged and sent to renewable resource companies for use. According to statistics, waste textiles in China's municipal waste account for 3.5% to 4% of total waste materials. Every year, 4 million tons of waste textiles are used for recycling in China. The main source is used clothes.

▲ Waste textiles and clothing products can be reused in the following three ways:

1. About 50% refurbishment, that is, entering the second-hand clothing market after cleaning and repairing;

2. About 20% cut into shredded fabric that can be reprocessed into various products, or make recycled products through secondary design;

3. About 15% recycling, that is, using physical or chemical methods to make waste textiles into recycled fibers.

In addition, in addition to recycling, those fruit and vegetable wet wastes are also very promising. Some can be treated with natural dyes, and even pineapple leaves can be made into the environmentally friendly leather material Piñatex®, which feels a bit like animal leather.

Calculated based on the average life of a piece of clothing for 3 to 4 years. If, on average, each person in China purchases 5 to 10 pieces of new clothing and discards 3 to 5 pieces of old clothing per person per year, China's 1.3 billion people will produce old clothing per year. It will reach 3.9 billion to 6.5 billion.

In 2018, China's consumption of textile raw materials reached 58.5 million tons, accounting for more than 55% of the world. China's imports of textile raw materials amount to more than 65%, while the amount of waste textiles reaches 26 million tons per year. With the decrease of oil and population expansion, the contradiction between cotton and grain land competition has become more prominent. The major challenge facing China's textile industry is the shortage of raw materials.

Take cotton as an example. An average of about 60 grams of cotton is used in a T-shirt. Cotton cultivation takes up land and uses pesticides.

If old clothes are recycled, or recycled fiber is produced, it will help reduce cotton consumption and alleviate the problem of insufficient domestic raw material resources. In addition, for each kilogram of used textiles, 3.6 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced, 6000 liters of water can be saved, and 0.3 kilograms of fertilizer and 0.2 kilograms of pesticides can be reduced. At present, many domestic and foreign companies have begun the business of waste textiles. It is not difficult to predict that the promotion of waste classification will promote waste textiles to become an emerging industry.

Since its founding in 1993, FREITAG, a Swiss bag brand that always implements the coexistence of environmental protection and fashion, has become popular all over the world. The FREITAG brothers advocate the concept of sustainable recycling, and they are familiar with "waste sorting and recycling". Every year they recycle a lot of truck tarpaulins and turn them into messenger bags. In the eyes of others, some cheap materials, combined with personalized design, have become different. These bags are also loved by designers. According to incomplete statistics, FREITAG uses an average of 640 tons of truck tarpaulins, 150,000 car seat belts, and 11,000 bicycle wheel inner tubes every year.

In the upstream textile field, there is also a company that successfully produced a new type of viscose staple fiber. 50% of the raw materials came from post-consumer recycled cotton fabrics. Recycled cotton pulp was provided by the Swedish company Re: newcell. This is Tangshan Sanyou.

"This breakthrough proves that we don't need to deforest virgin forests, occupy cotton fields or extract oil wells to produce high-quality fashion materials. Tangshan Sanyou and Re: newcell together provide the fiber needed for the fashion industry to transition to sustainable development—a A climate-friendly, low-impact, truly circular raw material, "said Mattias Jonsson, CEO of Re: newcell.

Nevertheless, the recycling of waste textiles has not been fully tapped. Tang Shijun, director of the Military Equipment Research Institute of the General Logistics Department, said recently that the main problem in the recycling of waste textiles in China is that the upstream and downstream industrial chain of textile recycling has not been formed, and a virtuous circle cannot be formed. Enterprises are small individual enterprises, and they are fighting on their own. There is no large-scale leading enterprise engaged in large-scale, high-value, resource-based recycling, nor does it have a resume, standardized, orderly, and regional distribution center to regulate industry trading behavior.

He also pointed out that there are several current recycling methods, such as degassing melting and repolymerization technologies for polyester clothing; alcoholysis, separation and repolymerization technologies for polyester-cotton clothing; and solvent methods for multi-component blended clothing Recovery and separation technology. At present, most domestic enterprises have not yet reached the level of advanced recycling and reuse technology. As an emerging industry, the waste textile industry has a long way to go in the future, but it has a long way to go.

Sources | Textile Science Research