What’s the design in a nutshell?
The Billie System is the first garment recycling plant in Hong Kong, helping brands and organisations revive excess inventory, unused raw materials or textile waste.
Why is it needed?
The fashion and textile industry is a major polluter across the stages of the supply chain: the resource-sapping agriculture to produce the raw materials, the toxic chemical waste released from the dyeing process and, of course, the millions of garments that are tossed into landfills every year. We need to not only produce and consume less, but circular practices are key to stemming the devastating impacts of the industry.
How does it work?
Billie’s textile recycling system takes in textile waste in the form of excess inventory, production waste or discarded textiles, which go through a patented six-step process created by Novetex Textiles. The system uses several automated elements – including AGVs, colour sorting, and smart storage – to maximize efficiency, and as part of the company’s efforts to contribute to the region’s re-industrialisation. The system is also completely waterless from start to finish, relying on ozone and UV light sanitisation.
The end products of the system are thoroughly sanitised slivers that can then be blended with virgin fibres – the percentage varies depending on the desired outcome – and spun into new yarn. Once being spun into yarn, these entirely new, usable products are ready to be made into new garments.
"Today, the Billie System can recycle up to three tonnes of textile waste per day."
How does it improve life?
Recycling is an important component of enacting change in the fashion industry. In offering a sustainable, recycled alternative to raw materials, Billie makes it easier for brands to go circular and helps significantly decrease the burden on the environment. Their extensive range of sustainable yarns blended with recycled fibres available to apparel and textile brands all over the world; which can be customised according to brands’ needs and preferences.
What’s the impact to date?
Today, the Billie System can recycle up to three tonnes of textile waste per day. Since launching the factory in 2019, Billie’s partners have comprised mostly apparel and textile brands, hospitality companies such as The Peninsula Hotels and Shangri-La Hotels, as well as educational institutions. Their yarns have been mostly used to create new bed linen and uniforms.
In the long-term, The Billie System hopes to “influence change in the industry’s long-term practices by offering a sustainable alternative to discarding garments and replacing a portion of raw materials”.