Crystal, a leader in the apparel manufacturing industry, has started a fabric waste upcycling pilot project at its Sri Lankan factories in 2018. The fabric waste from garment production processes is sorted and converted to high quality raw fibre for yarn manufacturing. This raw material again contributes to the circular economy for the fashion industry.

Each year, Crystal’s Sri Lankan factories which manufacture mainly sportswear and intimate wear generate an average of 400 tonne fabric waste, among which a large amount are polyester or nylon-based, which are synthetic and non-biodegradable. In order to reduce the environment impact and landfill dependency, the Sri Lankan factories began a collaboration with PurFi, a US based technology-driven manufacturing company that leverages innovation to extract precious value from waste, the company said.

Fabric waste upcycling only involves a few simple steps, without even a start-up cost required. After a couple of forecast, sorting, and packing procedures, the fabric waste is collected and shipped to the overseas recycling plant, and converted into high quality fibre by the patented technology.

“We want to pioneer a wave of change for the garment industry by setting a good example in our waste management approach, taking the initiative to upcycle our fabric waste and regenerate useful materials. There is a robust system for tracking transportation and upcycling processes, which provides high transparency and avoids improper disposals,” Catherine Chiu, General Manager of corporate quality and sustainability from Crystal said.

Upon measuring project efficiency, Crystal’s Sri Lankan factories are going to drive up the upcycling fabric target and expand the types of fabric waste for collection. The factories aim to recycle 40 per cent of fabric waste by 2019, and we also plan to scale up by extending the initiative to more of our factories.