Upcycling Post-consumer Blends Products

The mechanical method is the most straightforward way of textile recycling. However, it causes deterioration of the recycled fibre, which ends up in low-end products such as rags, furniture materials, or car seat filling.

HKRITA has developed a dry and closed upcycling system to recycle old clothes into quality textile fibres which is hygienic to be used for re-production of various textiles and products, including yarn, fabric, and garments.


The system comprises of five main parts: a Sanitisation Station, Materials Preparation Station, Colour Sorting Station, Smart Storage System, and a Fibra Processing System.

With clean and spinnable fibres as the desired product, the used garments are cleaned at the beginning and towards the end of the process through Ozone and Ultra-Violet (UV) Sanitisation systems respectively.

The Colour Sorting Station is assisted by a SCARA robot, and uses Advanced Vision Algorithms to sort garments into 10 colour categories. This process conveniently eliminates the need for dyeing and finishing of fibres by the end of the upcycling process, ultimately readying the colour-sorted fibres for spinning.

Upon filling up a container of fabric of the same colour, a smart storage system will transport it to the storage area by Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV). This will accumulate a series of containers to enable a continuous downstream production. When a downstream order is received, the smart storage system is able to retrieve corresponding number of containers automatically and then transport them downstream for production.

During the downstream process, fibre quality and properties are maintained through a series of special mechanical processes. A machine enclosure is installed around the dust-generating fibre processing steps to improve operational safety and contain the dust and sound. A dust collection mechanism with suction nozzles within the enclosure extracts the dust generated by the fibre processing operation.

Industry benefit

The upcycling system is now installed in a spinning mill in Tai Po. This is the first local spinning mill to have opened in half a century. The facility has three production lines, each capable of producing one ton a day of recycled fibres from post-consumer textiles.

Technological breakthrough

• High degree of automation is achieved by auto colour sorting robots (1 piece fabric per 2 seconds) and Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV)
• High level of hygiene is achieved by two stages of sanitisation and at least 90% microorganisms can be reduced according to the ISO 11737-1:2018 test method
• Fibre properties can be maintained through the progressive fibre re-processing system

Licensing Details

For more details, please contact us. (Email:; Tel: (852) 2627 0180)


Award Name
2018 Hong Kong Green Innovations Awards – Bronze Award
Gold Medal in the 46th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva (2018)
Research Start Date 2017-03-31