In a Hong Kong laboratory, researchers are working and experimenting with one of the world’s biggest cloth makers to improve its production process using a special ingredient-‘bacteria’. TAL Apparel Ltd, which has several factories in mainland China and Southeast Asia, has joined hands with City University to identify bacteria that can clean up efficiently the vast quantities of waste water produced from the textile industry. It’s one of the hundreds of efforts made by China’s private and state-owned companies to solve a problem that could end up changing the scene of the global fashion industry.
H&M Foundation, a non-profit organization that falls under the Stefan Persson family, founders and main owners of H&M group, announced in September 2017 that research with its partner, the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel, had invented a chemical process that could recycle blended textiles into new fabrics and yarns. The foundation offered a 1 million euro award this year to encourage such innovative ideas for a more sustainable way to use resources in the fashion industry.
At the Hong Kong lab scientists hope to develop their superbacteria within a span of two years. If they succeed, TAL would share the results with other manufacturers too, Lee said. “Hopefully more factories will be willing to use it,” said Lee, “But presently it’s a very slow process.”