The Urethane Blog

Recycled Spandex Fiber

Asahi Kasei launches recycled spandex in Japan

Asahi Kasei Corp. announced that its Fibers & Textiles SBU has developed Roica EF as the world’s first recycled elastic polyurethane filament (spandex) product, as well as an environmentally friendly spandex product featuring low oil content.


Roica EF was launched in Japan on 1 May 2016.

Roica EF was launched in Japan on 1 May 2016.

Led by the Roica brand, spandex is one of the main businesses of the Fibers & Textiles SBU of Asahi Kasei. Featuring supple stretch and recovery, Roica provides advanced functionality in applications such as innerwear, legwear, sportswear, and diapers. The global Roica supply network includes manufacturing plants in Japan, Taiwan, China, Thailand, and Germany.

According to the company, spandex, which can stretch five to eight times its original length, was previously considered unsuitable for recycling because of difficulty in controlling the decomposition temperature. However, Asahi Kasei’s proprietary technology made the recycling of spandex possible for the first time in the world. Roica EF, made by recycling waste fibre generated in the manufacturing process, is the world’s only spandex certified under the Global Recycle Standard (GRS), says the manufacturer.

In July 2015, German subsidiary Asahi Kasei Spandex Europe GmbH (AKSE) began supplying Roica EF made from 50 % recycled material to well-known European apparel manufacturers that are at the forefront of adoption of environmental materials. Asahi Kasei has also received GRS certification for Roica EF made from over 50 % recycled material at the Roica plant in its Moriyama Works in Shiga, Japan. AKSE has also developed Dorlastan V550 as an environmentally friendly spandex product featuring low oil content of 1 – 3 % compared to the conventional 5 – 6 %. This reduces the environmental burden of the manufacturing process in many ways, including by significantly reducing the amount of water used for scouring, the amount of scouring agent used, and the amount of electricity used. Dorlastan V550 has been sold in Europe since July 2015.