Textile recycling has great market potential
Waste and old textiles have become a burning issue for the green manufacturing industry in China, as more than 20 million tons of such textiles are generated in the country every year. If the issue is rectified, the issue of a shortage of textile industrial resources in the country will be greatly alleviated. It is estimated that if the country's utilization ratio of waste and old textile products reaches 60 percent, an annual production of 9.4 million tons of chemical fiber and 4.7 million tons of natural fiber will be achieved, which means about 18.8 million tons of crude oil and 16.34 million mu (1.09 million hectare) of land will be saved. Therefore, there are clearly great opportunities when it comes to the recycling of waste textiles. Some insiders predict that the industry has a potential market value of over 100 billion yuan ($14.49 billion).
However, some experts think that the industry must take into account the many possible bottlenecks in the process. For instance, the recycling channels and processing of old clothes and regulations on inspection and quarantine of recycled products are incomplete. There is no standard for recycled products, which makes it difficult for the products to enter the market. Moreover, although the industry is well developed when it comes to recycling, it is not when it comes to post-recycling. The industry remains to be mid- and low-end, and the products that are recycled generally have a low value.
At present, the recycling of waste and old textiles in China is still in the early stages of development and is in need of high technologies to produce microcrystalline cellulose, and bacterial cellulose and others. Additionally, strategic new materials, environmental protection, the health care and pension industry, emergency and public security, key infrastructure, and military-civil integration are seen as important channels for the development of the recycling industry.
In fact, the Chinese government has already taken action. On Aug 2, a team composed of nine senior experts examined and approved the Green Renewable Resources Sorting Center Construction and Management Standard, a task mentioned in the 2017 Plan of Circulation Industry Standard Projects released by the General Office of Ministry of Commerce and undertaken by the China Resources Recycling Association. The standard is China's first green industry standard of renewable resources. It is also an amendment of the Renewable Resources Sorting Center Construction and Management Standard (SB/T 10720-2012) and a great breakthrough and measure for the green transformation and upgrading of the renewable resources industry.