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Bangladesh yet to catch up with competitors in recycled yarn market.

Textile Sustainability
Bangladesh lags behind competitors in the production of recycled yarn which places it at a disadvantage in the European Union where the market for such yarn is swelling.

The recycled yarn is manufactured from worn-out or scrap textiles, furniture, and clothing, or other materials like plastic bottles. The basic concept involves creating pulp or fibers and turning those into yarn. Sometimes virgin cotton is also added to the mix.

Moreover, the use of apparel made from recycled yarn has been growing globally as consumers’ behavior is changing, centering the need for protecting the environment and slowing down climate change. Prompted by consumer behavior, the EU has already moved towards formulating a new due diligence law for the sourcing of garments made from recycled yarn.

According to reports the annual sales of recycled yarn are projected to grow globally from $4,553.4 million in 2023 to $5,500.7 million by 2029 at a compound annual growth rate of 3.2 percent. China accounts for about 60 percent of the trade followed by the US with a share of about 16 percent, the report said.

Only three local mills in Bangladesh are manufacturing recycled yarn for export. They can produce nearly 40 tonnes of recycled yarn per day. Another 60 tonnes of recycled yarn are produced by some mills but those are used for products meant for the domestic market, such as mattresses and curtains, according to industry insiders.

While cotton yarn can cost $3 to $3.5 per kilogram in the international market, recycled yarn can fetch as much as $1.5 to $2.5.

Setting up a full-fledged factory requires an investment of around $10 million. This along with a lack of technological know-how and skilled manpower are major factors behind investment coming about at a very slow pace, experts point out. A dedicated recycled yarn mill of the group at Maona in Gazipur will go into production within the next six months to produce 40 tonnes of denim yarn per day.

The value addition in the manufacture of recycled yarn can reach almost “300 percent” as otherwise, the materials would have ended up in landfills. Annually, Bangladesh produces 4 lakh tonnes of textile wastage, of which 5 percent is locally recycled. If 30 percent of the waste could be recycled, it could save on the import of $1 billion of virgin cotton, according to local millers.
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