Epson and HKRITA Collaborating on the Development of New Fiber Recycling Technology Using Dry Fiber Technology

The partners seek to accelerate the use of recycled fibers by establishing a technology to separate the fibers from hard-to-defibrate post-consumer fabrics

- TOKYO, Japan, February 5, 2024 -

Seiko Epson Corporation (TSE: 6724, "Epson") seeks to meet the growing global need for recycled fibers by using its proprietary Dry Fiber Technology to establish technology for defibrating hard-to-recycle fabrics and expand real-world fiber recycling. To this end, Epson entered into a joint development agreement with The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel Limited ("HKRITA")* on January 18, 2024. HKRITA is a Hong Kong-based R&D center, specializing in the development of innovative solutions to the textile, clothing and fashion industry.

Spurred by a growing recognition of global environmental issues, a trend toward using recycled fibers from unwanted clothing has been gaining steam, particularly in Europe, where countries are moving to increase the ratio of recycled fibers used and limit the use of petroleum-derived synthetic fibers.

Currently, a machine called a garnett is commonly used in the textile recycling process to separate the fibers in waste material. However, garnetts are unable to effectively separate the fibers of some of the most common textiles in the apparel market, such as tightly weave fabrics used for dress shirts and bed sheets and elastic blended fabrics used for functional clothing.

Epson seeks to solve this problem by using its unique Dry Fiber Technology to establish a process for defibrating elastic blended fabrics and tightly woven fabrics. The aim is to provide a new solution for recycling clothing fibers by entering into a joint development agreement with HKRITA*.

This solution will be able to help greatly accelerate the use of recycled fibers by making it possible to separate fibers from challenging textiles such as functional clothing, sheets, and dress shirts, as well as from factory mill ends, unsold items of clothing, and unwanted apparel. Epson aims to establish the technology as soon as possible and implement it in the real world.

Cotton yarn (prototype production)
made of 50% fibers defibrated using
Dry Fiber Technology

* The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA)

Established in 2006, HKRITA is funded by the Innovation and Technology Commission of the HKSAR Government and hosted by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. HKRITA engages in applied research to support the textile and apparel industry in order to boost its overall competitiveness, and to drive sustainable improvements and bring benefits to society. By providing one-stop services for applied research, technology transfer and commercialization, HKRITA makes sustained efforts to promote successful projects for industry application.

Dry Fiber Technology, independently developed by Epson, enables the creation of new value from post-consumer paper, wood, clothing, and other fibrous waste and used products. It is one of the core technologies around which Epson is building an environmental business. In addition to developing recycled fiber production solutions, Epson is producing new paper and packaging materials from used paper and other raw materials. It is also developing stronger and more durable recycled plastic and bio-based plastic. Epson is building an environmental business by applying this technology and will contribute to environmental impact mitigation and resource circulation.

About Epson
Epson is a global technology leader whose philosophy of efficient, compact and precise innovation enriches lives and helps create a better world. The company is focused on solving societal issues through innovations in home and office printing, commercial and industrial printing, manufacturing, visual and lifestyle. Epson's goal is to become carbon negative and eliminate use of exhaustible underground resources such as oil and metal by 2050.
Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the worldwide Epson Group generates annual sales of more than JPY 1 trillion.