ESIT Promotes Clothing Recycling
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ESIT Promotes Clothing Recycling

Adda Avendaño

Preparing excellence professionals in the textile areas of yarns, fabrics, finishes, and garment production implies the social responsibility of contributing to environmental care. It is estimated that this industry produces over three billion tons of waste annually. Therefore, the Escuela Superior de Ingeniería Textil (ESIT) is actively promoting clothing recycling.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the textile industry is the second most polluting industry on the planet, accounting for approximately eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the consumption of around 215 trillion liters of water per year, and about 500 tons of microplastics in the ocean. In Mexico, almost four tons of textile waste are produced annually, according to figures from the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (Semarnat), and only five percent is recycled. The rest ends up in landfills. That's why it's crucial to work towards a circular economy that reuses clothing and fabrics.

Given this scenario, ESIT, in collaboration with the clothing company Holstone, has agreed to place a recycling container at the entrance of the academic unit. Here, students and the community can deposit used clothing of any quality, damaged or permanently stained garments, household textiles such as towels, tablecloths, or curtains, and fabric scraps.

In Mexico, almost four tons of textile waste are produced annually, according to figures from the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (Semarnat).

Pamela Isabel Quintero Medina, a teacher at ESIT, explained that recognizing textile engineering as one of the main causes of environmental pollution led to an agreement with the company for a pilot clothing recycling program. This program included awareness-raising sessions and the installation of the first container at ESIT, donated by Holstone.

"The idea is to prepare well-rounded individuals who are aware of the need to produce textiles in a circular economy and to incorporate recycling into the industry because throwing away a piece of clothing is very harmful to the environment," she noted.

Currently, the textile industry operates on a linear economy model that begins directly with raw materials from the field and petroleum. The process involves manufacturing yarns and fabrics for garment production, which then reach retail outlets, explained Isaac Mora Vázquez, the maintenance manager of the ESIT recycling container.

He elaborated that the goal is to transition this industry into a circular model that starts with the collection of unused clothing and fabrics. These materials are transported to a textile sorting center, in this case, the re.colecto company, where fibers and new raw materials are generated. These are then processed into yarns and fabrics for reuse in clothing, automobile upholstery, or thermal packaging.

The process is straightforward: place bags with used clothing or fabrics in the container and scan the QR code to receive a 10 percent discount at participating clothing stores, as indicated by the application.

ESIT specialists emphasized that the recycling company requests not to introduce the following items into the container: shoes, belts, bags, backpacks, blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, wet or dirty clothing, and hospital, sanatorium, or similar textiles."

Gaceta Politécnica #1757. (November 15th, 2023). IPN Imagen Institucional: Read the full magazine in Spanish here