- Japan Airlines is teaming up with Japan Environmental Planning, also known as Jeplan Inc., and Tokyo’s Green Earth Institute to develop airplane biofuel from unwanted landfill-bound clothing
WHY IT MATTERS
- Keeps clothing out of the landfills, freeing up land and water sources needed to grow food
- While the processing of bioethanol releases carbon dioxide, especially during refinement, emissions are less than those from fossil fuel
More than 100 million tons of clothing are discarded each year in Japan. Michihiko Iwamoto, founder of the Japanese recycling firm Jeplan Inc. has developed a method of extracting cotton fiber from old clothing and converting it into biofuel – specifically ethanol. Great idea, right? Yes, but a monster of a project! It takes roughly one ton of discarded clothing to generate 700 liters of ethanol, a Boeing 747 uses up to a gallon of fuel every second, so that means approximately 100 tons of clothes would cover a 45-minute flight. Wow! It’s no wonder the clothing collection process has already begun. The company teamed up with retailers and set up thousands of collection bins across the country. In addition to this, Jeplan plans to incorporate other fibers and waste into the process, including paper.
- Jeplan hopes to begin test flights as early as 2020, and begin production in 2030.