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Hyosung Recycles Ocean Plastic Into Fiber

Hyosung TNC has launched two projects to save the sea with Regen, its recycled nylon apparel fiber.

The South Korean fiber manufacturer has teamed up with a municipal government to release a new nylon textile made of abandoned fishing nets. The company has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Busan metropolitan government and a social venture, Netspa, to produce eco-friendly textile by recycling abandoned fishing nets.

The partnership was formed to reduce the pollution of marine ecosystems caused by abandoned fishing nets. The city government will establish a system for separate disposal of abandoned fishing nets, while Netspa will be in charge of washing and processing the collected fishing nets, Hyosung said. With the recycled fishing nets, Hyosung will produce nylon Mipan Regen Ocean.

In addition, Hyosung TNC, Yeosu Gwangyang Port Authority and fashion brand Pleatsmama signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last month to undertake the “Regen Ocean” project to recycle transparent PET bottles coming from ships that enter and leave the port. The project was designed to prevent ocean pollution stemming from PET bottles used on ships while they are at sea.

Under the MOU, Yeosu Gwangyang Port Authority provides bags to departing ships so they can separate the PET bottles they use, and collects them upon their return to the port. Hyosung TNC recycles the collected PET bottles into a polyester fiber called Regen Ocean. Startup Korean-based fashion brand Pleatsmama makes fashion products like clothes and bags with the recycled fiber.

Hyosung TNC will seek to obtain Ocean Bound Plastic (OBP) certification from the Dutch certification agency Control Union, which certifies plastics collected from the sea.

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Hyosung TNC has been producing eco-friendly bags and clothes with the recycled fiber regen in cooperation with Jeju-do Self-Governing Special Province and the Seoul Metropolitan Government since last year. The company plans to continue to expand eco-friendly markets in cooperation with local governments across the country.

Hyosung TNC also signed an MOU with the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) and the district offices of Geumcheon, Yeongdeungpo and Gangnam in January to promote a “Regen Seoul” project whereby Hyosung will produce eco-friendly fibers from recycled transparent PET bottles collected by the local governments.

“Hyosung has been pushing for various projects to protect the environment,” chairman Cho Hyun-joon said. “We will continue to practice sustainable management by trying various projects to establish a system for a virtuous circle of resources.”

Hyosung TNC and the SMG have set a goal of producing 100 tons of Regen Seoul during the first half of 2021. The production quantity will increase as more districts participate in the efforts to recycle transparent PET bottles.

“Regen has established itself as the standard for eco-friendly business in Korea,” Hyun-joon said. “I am proud that Hyosung′s Regen Project has established itself as the standard for the country′s eco-friendly recycled fiber market. We will join forces with local governments across the country not only to expand the recycle project, but also bolster the scope and size of the market by strengthening eco-friendly management throughout our entire business portfolio.”

This followed the launch last year of a mission to transform the growing amount of plastic waste polluting the shores of Jeju Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site that draws millions to its habitat each year. South Korea’s Ministry of Environment (MOE), Hyosung, Jeju Provincial Government and Pleatsmama signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the “Return to be Reborn Project” to establish a new resource circulation system that launched last year.

The Return to be Reborn project will establish a Recycle Eco-system on Jeju in which the Jeju Development Corporation collects PET bottles on Jeju Island. The bottles are fully cleaned and turned into recyclable chip. Hyosung TNC, which has the technology to manufacture recycled fiber, uses this chip to make Regen jeju. Pleatsmama will produce finished product with this Regen jeju.

Since textiles for clothing have strict purity standards, the recycled materials used for apparel have been imported from abroad, including Japan and Taiwan, where the recycling system is well established. Hyosung now has a system in place to domestically source the highest quality PET bottles appropriate for recycling into apparel.