Japanese telecommunication company Oki Electric has just announced it will work with Teijin Fiber's Eco-Circle process to recycled their worn corporate uniforms back into new uniforms. By March 2009 Oki plans to recycle "approximately 2,000 uniforms, equivalent to a gross weight of 1.2 tons and it has calculated that this process will immediately reduce its CO2 footprint by 3.7 tons."
Eco-Circle [Flash Warning!} can take products, where the polyester content is higher than 80% (and hasn't been blended with wool, acrylic and/or polyurethane), sort out the polyester from the zippers, buttons, etc, and reduce the fibre back to its molecular level, so that a fresh batch of high grade polyester can be produced. Which is a pretty smart technology because ...... Teijin reckon that of the 24 million metric tons of textile product consumed in the world each year, 40% is polyester. Not only does the Eco-Circle technology keep garments out of landfill (only 10% of total Japanese textile product is currently recycled) it also manages other benefits. The company suggest that for every 3,000 t-shirts recycled they achieve energy savings of 84% and CO2 emission reduction of 77%.