Spanish fashion retailer Inditex and Spanish finishing specialist for sustainable clothing Jeanologia have developed the first industrial air system designed to extract microfibers during garment manufacturing and thus reduce subsequent shedding in domestic laundering.
Called the ‘Air Fiber Washer,’ the new system extracts up to 60 percent of microfibres during the manufacturing process by using dynamic airflow in combination with microfiltration to capture microfibres. According to Inditex and Jeanologia, each industrial Air Fiber Washer machine will allow for the collection of up to 325 kilograms of microfibres per year for potential repurposing, depending on the type of fabric and machine conditions such as loading and movement.
“We must promote innovative solutions that allow us to respond to the challenges of our industry, such as microfibre shedding. This project with Jeanologia is an example of how we can collaborate with other industries to limit our impact on resources such as water right from the manufacturing stage,” commented Javier Losada, general director of sustainability at Inditex, in a press release.
Microfibres are small particles less than 15 millimetres in length that are shed from textiles, especially during initial domestic washes. “This is one of the great challenges for the textile industry due to existing limitations in current industrial capacities for water treatment,” according to the two companies.
The Air Fiber Washer is currently having its first public run at the international textile technology fair (ITMA) in Milan, which concludes tomorrow. The technology would be shared with the industry “with no strings attached” promised the companies, as part of their effort to mitigate microfibre shedding. The aim is to offer cost-neutral technological solutions to manufacturers, brands and retailers so that they can use them immediately.
“With innovative technology, this new development makes it possible to reduce microfibre shedding by up to 60 percent through the use of air, without employing water or thermal energy and without compromising aspects such as fabric quality. Its dynamic air flow extracts the microfibres from the garments and collects them in a containment bag for potential recycling, moving us closer towards a circular industry with zero waste,” states the press release.
“Working with Inditex is a great experience and a source of pride. This initiative is just the first step in the mission we have set for ourselves to minimise the impact of microfibre shedding in textile manufacturing and in the product life cycle,” emphasised Jeanologia president Enrique Silla.