Toray Industries Inc. (Tokyo, Japan) has announced a new commercial fiber brand, called &+, which the company says will underpin the start of its efforts to use fibers made by recycling used PET bottles.
Toray is aiming to leverage this brand to foster PET bottle recycling and to help materialize a closed loop economy by offering high-value-added fiber derived from PET bottles. Toray plans to position &+ as the symbol of a growing public desire for PET bottle recycling activity and will market to consumers through global retailers. It is also targeting to expand the use of high-value-added fibers from PET waste globally.
In launching the brand, Toray developed techniques to manufacture high-value-added, white, plastic bottle-derived fibers that incorporate traceability technology. Applications include fashion items, sportswear, lifestyle wear, work uniform, and consumer goods — all of which Toray says were previously off-limits for plastic bottle-derived fibers because of the possibility of contamination in the waste plastic. Another issue previously has been that the plastic bottles yellow as they age, so Toray partnered with Kyoei Industry Co. Ltd. (Tochigi, Japan) to develop contaminant-filtering technology and advanced cleaning techniques to remove impurities from raw materials, removing the yellow tinge.
Toray also created a proprietary Recycling Identification System to detect additives premixed in the raw materials, an effort to ensure reliablility of raw materials from plastic bottles.
Toray plans to set up and expand its PET bottle-derived fiber across fiber, textile and apparel supply chains, utilizing its existing global manufacturing sites. The company will also build a supply structure to respond to customers sharing its sustainability goals. As part of its Green Innovation Business Expansion Project, Toray is building its position in energy conservation, biomass, recycling and related fields to deliver lasting environmental, resources and energy solutions.