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Asics to recycle used clothing for Japan’s Olympic uniforms

By Marjorie van Elven

30 Jan 2019

Asics has announced plans to use recycled clothing to make the official uniforms for the Japanese Olympic and Paralympic teams at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. The company hopes to gather approximately 30,000 items of sportswear clothing by placing collection boxes in Asics’ stores, partner retailers and sports events across Japan. Pieces from any brand will be accepted until May 31, 2019.

The company said in a statement that the uniforms and shoes will contain polyester fibers extracted from the donated clothing. Consumers will be able to follow the recycling process via a dedicated newsletter to which they will have access by scanning a barcode displayed on the collection boxes.

Asics added that the initiative aims to “contribute to the realization of a sustainable society in line the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and its target to reduce CO2 emissions by 2030”.

It should be noted, however, that not all clothing can be recycled. Some polyester blends are difficult, if not impossible to be recycled into new clothing. “In some cases, it is technically possible, for example blends with polyester and cotton. But it is still at the pilot level. The challenge is to find processes that can be scaled up properly and we’re not there yet”, said Karla Magruder, Board Member of Textile Exchange.

According to Asics, other recyclable materials extracted from the clothing collected will be turned into fuel, among other uses.

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Picture: Asics website