Gama Iplik recycles our end-of-life workwear back to fibers in Turkey
Gama Iplik is one of the pioneering companies in textile recycling business, and the largest integrated regenerated yarn and polyester fiber manufacturer in Turkey. It has been in recycling business for 25 years and currently focuses on recycling textile and plastic waste into new yarn and fiber. Their operations are guided by the words of their founder “We did not inherit the environment that we live in from our fathers, we borrow it from our children and grandchildren.”
The company is one of the great examples of how sustainable practice can generate business growth and be economically lucrative. It is now recycling 100% of our textile waste in Turkey. We had a chat with Zafer Kaplan, the President of Gama Iplik.
1. How did your business start?
Industrialisation, population growth and increasing consumption of natural resources are causing the growing problem of textile waste harmful to nature and living things. Our family was producing rotor yarn and we realised that we could help reduce the problem of textile waste by recyling it back into yarn. The spinning method that we used for yarn production was suitable for recycling fibers obtained from textile waste.
2. How do you collect the necessary raw materials for your production?
We supply them from fabric cutting workshops, factories, and collectors—called rickshawers in the market.. We also import raw materials.
3. How much waste do you recycle annually?
Every year we recycle 90,000–100,000 tons of pet bottles that is used for producing 72,000 tons of polyester fiber, and 55,000–60,000 tons of wasted or used clothing that is used for producing 43,000 tons of regenerated fiber.
6. Who are your customers?
Our customers include world-famous fashion brands such as H&M, Zara, Adidas, Nike, Burberry as well as several home textiles companies that make new textiles out of our recycled fibers.
7. What are the major challenges in your market?
environmental performance and consumption of this industry as well as the waste it generates. We think that the importance of recycling will only increase as it is not consuming our natural resources but taking off the waste that would otherwise burden the environment. This is the cornerstone of our company—and I believe it will be the future of the whole textile industry as well.
There are some challenges in raw material collection and waste sorting specific to our market, since Turkey does not have a developed waste management and industrial sorting systems. But we believe these challenges will decrease and disappear in the future. And even though there are difficulties, it doesn’t matter since we love what we do.
8. How do you think the recycled yarn and fiber market will develop?
Since centuries, there has been trade of textile products used for covering and protection. Techniques such as fiber and yearn making, weaving and sewing date back to thousands of years. Since 5,000 BC, people have worn textiles that generate textile waste. The consumption of textile products will only increase as the world population grows and living standards improve.
Today, textile and ready-made clothing production is over 80 million tons per year on a global scale. Therefore, it is of great importance to evaluate the environmental performance and consumption of this industry as well as the waste it generates. We think that the importance of recycling will only increase as it is not consuming our natural resources but taking off the waste that would otherwise burden the environment. This is the cornerstone of our company—and I believe it will be the future of the whole textile industry as well.