The majority of the clothes we wear and produce today are made of cotton and polyester blend fabrics, and there has been no commercial method available that can recycle these garments into new ones. Until now.
In November 2020, Monki introduced the Green Machine. A machine that can, for the first time, fully separate and recycle cotton and polyester blends. Monki also created the brand’s first collection using the Green Machine system, an online exclusive grey tracksuit set featuring the statement “Respect your mother (nature)” embroidered on the hoodie and trackpants.
In 2022, the technology went from lab level to being implemented at Kahatex, one of Monki’s suppliers in Indonesia. Making the Green Machine available at this level also means that the technology is available for other brands to use. It also means a new drop using the Green Machine– a tracksuit featuring the message “Be kind, be you”. Consisting of a hoodie and trackpants in green, purple and brown, the drop is set to be launched exclusively on monki.com in early 2023.
“There are many innovation gaps that needs to be filled with new solutions for the textile industry, in order to transform to more sustainable practises. We support impatient research with the ambition to equip the industry with the toolbox to do so. Nothing makes me happier than to see brave front-runners like Monki and Kahatex picking up these tools and thereby laying the foundation for scale and impact.”
– Christiane Dolva, Planet Positive Lead, H&M Foundation.
“We are very excited to be able to scale the hydrothermal separation system with Monki, finally we have gone from concept to trials to products. By making yarns, fibres, and apparel with the Green Machine we want to demonstrate that while fashion cycles maybe fast, the materials we use to make our clothes can last a long time.”
– Edwin Keh, HKRITA CEO.
↪ What: The Green Machine (hydrothermal technology).
↪ Why: It’s time to change the game for textile recycling at scale.
↪ Where: At one of Monki’s key suppliers, Kahatex, in Indonesia.
↪ How: The Green Machine separates blend textiles by using heat, water and less than 5% green chemicals (citric acid). See below for the full step-by-step process.
↪ Who: In 2016, the H&M Foundation partnered with the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA) with a common goal to accelerate research on textile recycling and find a commercial method that could recycle blend textiles at scale.
Just one year later – the Green Machine was born, as researchers found a way to use a hydrothermal method to separate blend textiles without any quality loss. Monki was the first brand to create and distribute garments from the Green Machine.
So, how does it work?
1. Place a polyester and cotton blend textile into the Green Machine.
2. The fibres are separated using a closed loop of heat, water and less than 5% green chemicals (citric acid).
3. A large oven is used to dry-out the separated fibres.
4. The result: separated polyester fibres ready to be used to create a new garment – and the cotton is extracted as cellulose powder, which can be used in multiple ways, such as being developed into viscose rayon fibre for textile.