Making textiles and clothing from recycled plastics – Clothes are an everyday necessity, and for many an important form of expression. However, as we are continuing to learn the extent of the effect human actions have on our environment, sustainability is becoming one of the major topics in the textiles and clothing industry -Textiles clothing recycled plastics

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Making textiles and clothing from recycled plastics

Clothes are an everyday necessity, and for many an important form of expression. However, as we are continuing to learn the extent of the effect human actions have on our environment, sustainability is becoming one of the major topics in the textiles and clothing industry.

According to a report from Dame Ellen MacArthur’s foundation published in 2017, fashion production currently creates greenhouse emissions of 1.2 billion tonnes a year. It is estimated that more than half of fast fashion production is disposed of in under a year, and one garbage truck full of textiles is landfilled or burnt every second. This, combined with a very low rate of recycling, leads to an ever-expanding pressure on resources. Textiles production (including cotton farming) also uses around 93 billion cubic metres of water a year, contributing to problems in some water-scarce regions.

Textiles clothing recycled plastics

Through its brand Repreve, Unifi has transformed more than 10 billion plastic bottles into recycled fibre. © Unifi

Yesterday, the world marked Earth Day, an annual event celebrated on 22 April. Worldwide, various activities are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. This year, the Earth Day Network is dedicated to providing the information needed to change human attitude and behaviour about plastics. Efforts are also being made by clothing brands, retailers, and other organisations to change the situation. Addressing a much wider problem of the current plastic pollution crisis, the companies are recycling plastic waste to create new garments and raise awareness among their consumers.

Anti-fast fashion

Unifi is one of the leading innovators in manufacturing recycled performance fibres. Through its brand Repreve, Unifi has transformed more than 10 billion plastic bottles into recycled fibre. This month, award-winning artist Mel Chin, Unifi’s Repreve fibre, and international fashion designer Tracy Reese teamed up to create a fashion project called Flint Fit. The project involved creating clothes made with Repreve fibre, transformed by Unifi from more than 90,000 used water bottles from Flint, where the water is contaminated with lead, forcing residents to rely upon bottled water for their everyday needs.

Aquafil is the company behind the Econyl Regeneration System for the production of Nylon 6 from 100% regenerated waste materials. Conceptualised and designed by Aquafil, with an investment of nearly EUR 25 million, this system was introduced in 2011 to produce nylon polymers from post and pre-consumer waste. In February, Aquafil and H&M joined forces for the H&M Conscious Exclusive collection, which for the first time featured pieces made from Econyl yarn. “Aquafil is thrilled to have Econyl adopted by H&M’s Conscious Exclusive collection. We have been working on this with H&M for more than two years, and it was wonderful to see it come to fruition. We are particularly excited about this partnership because H&M’s fashion is so accessible to the everyday consumer – which is in line with our vision for Econyl,” said Giulio Bonazzi, President of Aquafil.

Textiles clothing recycled plastics

Fashion project called Flint Fit. © Unifi

G-Star Raw for the Oceans, a clothing line made out of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, launched in 2014, by a celebrity music icon Pharrell Williams. Since then, he presented several collections, which included garments made using recycled plastic removed from the oceans.

DGrade is a clothing manufacturer, supplying the eco-friendly products made from recycled plastic bottles. Last year, DGrade launched a new campaign called the Simply Bottles initiative to build the world’s first ‘plastic to yarn’ recycling plant in Dubai.

Ganesha Ecosphere is a leading PET-recycled Recycled Polyester Staple Fibre (RPSF) manufacturer in India. The company collects PET waste through more than 20 collection centres across India and turns it into apparel textiles, functional nonwoven fabrics, geo textiles, carpets, car upholstery, as well as fillings.

Ecoalf also uses recycled fabrics to create a new generation of sustainable products. “Ecoalf arose in 2009 from my frustration with the excessive use of the world’s natural resources and the amount of waste produced by industrialised countries. Ecoalf symbolises what I believe the fabrics and products of the new generations should be, a new fashion/lifestyle brand that integrates breakthrough technology to create clothing and accessories made entirely from recycled materials,” explains Javier Goyeneche, President and founder.

Textiles clothing recycled plastics

Aquafil is the company behind the Econyl Regeneration System for the production of Nylon 6 from 100% regenerated waste materials. © Aquafil

Byron Bay based Liar the Label makes sustainable swimwear from recycled polyester, which is made from single use ocean plastics, like bottles and fishing nets. Riz boardshorts in the UK are inspired by Saville Row but use a material that’s made from recycled ocean plastics. Hamilton Perkins makes weekender bags in a range of colours out of plastic bottles. Brightly coloured swimwear brand Ocean Zen, led by CEO Steph Gabriel, a marine biologist, makes its bikinis from recycled bottles and fishing nets.

Cult boot company Timberland has been adding recycled plastic bottles to their shoes for years, using them to create soles. The brand wants to make sure 100% of its footwear contains recycled or organic material by 2020. Rothy’s flat shoes are also made by knitting recycled water bottle plastic.

Solution or problem?

Whilst transforming recycled plastic into clothing provides an appealing solution to the amount of plastic waste floating in the oceans or covering the land, there are also concerns that this approach may doing more harm when it comes to another form of plastic pollution – microplastics. It has been estimated that half a million tonnes of plastic microfibres, equivalent to more than 50 billion plastic bottles, shed during washing ends up in the ocean and ultimately enters the food chain. According to Dr Mark Browne, an ecologist and postdoctoral fellow at the NCEAS in Santa Barbara, CA, every time a synthetic garment goes through the spin and rinse cycle in a washing machine, it sheds a large number of plastic fibres, and most washing machines don’t have filters to trap these particles, and neither do sewage plants.

Despite the dangers of plastic microfibers, however, the recycling of plastic into clothes may still have its benefits. According to Adrian Midwood, founder of the Leisure Activist Group, turning plastic bottles into new purposeful objects may help capture plastic waste and also create some jobs in areas, where waste or recycling management programmes are available, preventing large-scale pollution.

It has been estimated that half a million tonnes of plastic microfibres, equivalent to more than 50 billion plastic bottles, shed during washing ends up in the ocean and ultimately enters the food chain.

Textiles clothing recycled plastics

Also, creating rPET resin suitable for yarn production uses 50% less energy than is needed to manufacture virgin Polyester from scratch, 55% few carbon emissions are released and 20% less water is used, according to DGrade.

Other options

Another way to offset the negative effects of the wasteful and polluting clothing industry is using bio-derived materials, such as cellulose, as well as investing into research to inform textiles manufacturing. “It is essential that we continue to research and experiment with new technologies and sustainable materials. For example, we’ve partnered with the bio-tech company Genomatica to develop a bio-based nylon ingredient. While research is important, brands also have a responsibility to take action in whatever ways they can now, so progress is not delayed,” said Giulio Bonazzi.

Another company looking for innovative solutions to better the environment is Cosmos Studio, a sustainable apparel start-up brand based in Hong Kong, which started shipping the first orders of its new line of unisex shirts made with the lowest consumption of fresh water, this February, after launching the project through a successful Kickstarter campaign at the end of last year. The shirt production is powered by a new colour diffusion technology that is said to make it 95% more eco-friendly, compared to any other apparel making process.

Textiles clothing recycled plastics

The Cosmos Studio shirt production is powered by a new colour diffusion technology that is said to make it 95% more eco-friendly, compared to any other apparel making process. © Cosmos Studio

“One of the problems the industry needs to address is the disruption that has been caused by the fast fashion sector. The environmental and human costs accompanying fast fashion is too huge to be ignored and the power of fast fashion needs to be further diluted. Furthermore, circular economy principles need to be integrated to the value chains of companies rather than being a marketing-focused CSR initiative. We have seen a lack of commercialisation of sustainable prototypes in the industry, indicating that the commercial advantage of sustainable fashion is still deemed low,” said Jeffrey Man, co-founder.

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-Vertellus developing RPET sequel to its nylon additive – A chemicals company that makes a nylon-boosting additive says it’s now developing a product to improve properties of recycled PET. –Vertellus RPET nylon additive

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Chinaplas: Colloids launches high-temperature engineering polymer masterbatches and conductive/ESD compounds – UK-based color and additive masterbatch supplier Colloids is using Chinaplas 2018 to launch two new product ranges aimed at markets with high performance applications spanning automotive, electrical & electronics, and electrostatically dissipative (ESD) packaging, storage and distribution applications – Chinaplas Colloids high temperature engineering polymer masterbatches conductive ESD compounds

Chinaplas Colloids high temperature engineering polymer masterbatches conductive ESD compoundsChinaplas Colloids high temperature engineering polymer masterbatches conductive ESD compoundsChinaplas Colloids high temperature engineering polymer masterbatches conductive ESD compoundsChinaplas Colloids high temperature engineering polymer masterbatches conductive ESD compounds

Chinaplas: Colloids launches high-temperature engineering polymer masterbatches and conductive/ESD compounds

by: Stephen Moore

UK-based color and additive masterbatch supplier Colloids is using Chinaplas 2018 to launch two new product ranges aimed at markets with high performance applications spanning automotive, electrical & electronics, and electrostatically dissipative (ESD) packaging, storage and distribution applications. The company will be showcasing new high-temperature engineering polymer masterbatches and compounds that are part of its T-TEC range, as well as 11 newly developed permanent electrically conductive and ESD compound grades, which have been added to its existing E-TEC product range. The latter product line was predominantly developed by Colloids at its local China operation.

Chinaplas Colloids high temperature engineering polymer masterbatches conductive ESD compounds

High temperature polymer masterbatches are being manufactured by Colloids in standard blue, red, green, brown, grey and black electrical identification colors, as well as bespoke colors on request.

The new T-TEC range of high-temperature masterbatches and compounds are for use with amorphous and semi-crystalline engineering polymers that can withstand continuous operating temperatures above 150°C. The masterbatch grades have been developed to meet demands from manufacturers for masterbatches with pigments that can withstand multiple heat histories at temperatures exceeding 350°C. The T-TEC range is formulated using specially selected and formulated pigments and carrier systems based on PPS, PPSU, PPA and PEEK.

Depending on the polymer grade, Colloids can supply a high-temperature masterbatch or compound in standard blue, red, green, brown, grey or black, as well as in customer bespoke colors. The types of high temperature masterbatch carriers used in the T-TEC range are suitable for use in the most demanding compounding applications without affecting the mechanical performance or chemical resistance of the base polymers. A bespoke T-TEC masterbatch and compound product development service for a wide range of other high-performance engineering polymers is also provided.

PLASTEC East puts the latest plastics innovations on display from new materials and additives to rapid prototyping and injection molding. Source from leading suppliers and network with thousands of industry experts who can help advance your projects.

The E-TEC range offers surface resistivities from 1 x109 to less than 103 Ohms square (according to ASTM D257 and IEC61340-2-3), providing solutions to electrical and electronics, automotive, consumer and industrial products and ESD packaging, storage and distribution applications in particular. These E-TEC grades offer customers enhanced electrical performance for film and sheet, profile extrusion, injection molding, vacuum forming and closed cell foams.

Colloids’ E-TEC compound grades have been formulated to offer superior mechanical properties, along with the added benefits of enhanced process capability, excellent weldability and good aesthetics. In addition to the standard range Colloids also provides bespoke, customer specific E-TEC products.

China and the Asian market has become an increasingly important region for Colloids, which in 2016 established Colloids Plastic (Suzhou) Co. Ltd., a masterbatch manufacturing plant located in Changshu, about 90 km northwest of Shanghai. Expansions have been made since startup, with $2 million-worth of high-temperature processing equipment having been installed to handle the higher range of temperatures for masterbatch production. Further investment is envisaged.

The new general manager for Colloids China operations, Dr. Craig MacDougall, who recently joined the company after 22 years with Americhem, commented: “This is a very exciting time to be joining Colloids which is clearly committed to developing its business in China and Asia. Chinaplas 2018 is the ideal event to introduce the two new product ranges to the Asian market and the Colloids team is looking forward to meeting both existing and potential new customers during the show.”

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Braskem pushes for next wave of Renewable Chemicals and Polymers – Braskem, the largest thermoplastic producer in America and global leader of bio-polymers has announced to focus on research and development of renewable chemicals – Braskem Renewable Chemicals Polymers

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Braskem pushes for next wave of Renewable Chemicals and Polymers

Braskem Renewable Chemicals PolymersBraskem, the largest thermoplastic producer in America and global leader of bio-polymers has announced to focus on research and development of renewable chemicals. The chemicals and materials will be sourced from renewable feedstocks.

In-line with its expansion strategy for the future of renewable chemicals it has started a new operation in Boston.

It would be focusing on leveraging groundbreaking developments in biotechnology and advanced materials. The activities included will be biotechnology and material science R&D, business and market development along with technology scouting for key strategic partnerships.

Braskem Renewable Chemicals Business Director, Gustavo Sergi, said, “Renewable chemistry will lead the next wave of development in chemicals and polymers. Our announcement today reinforces Braskem’s position at the forefront of this movement. As we look forward, by developing and leading the next wave of renewable chemicals and polymers, we are bringing our customers new and innovative choices.”

Mateus Schreiner Garcez Lopes, Braskem Head of Innovation in Renewable Technologies, stated, “The operation in Boston will complement the metabolic engineering capabilities that we have in our Renewable Chemistry Research Center in Campinas (Brazil) as well as our material science competencies present in our R&D centers in Triunfo (Brazil) and Pittsburgh (USA). In addition, this location positions Braskem in a strategic ecosystem that will enable us to leverage key partnerships for research and market development.”

To lead the Research & Development in Boston, Dr. Daniel P. MacEachran has been appointed as new Head of Metabolic Engineering and Dr. MacEachran, Director of Applications Research & Development from Greenlight Biosciences, (privately-held biotechnology company focused on the sustainable production of chemicals) join Braskem.

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Braskem Strikes Up New Partnerships to Take Sustainable Packaging to the Next Level – Thermoplastics resin producer Braskem has been keeping busy, entering into a series of new partnerships to make bio-based packaging the mainstream choice for the personal care and consumer goods industries. – Braskem Partnerships Sustainable Packaging

Easy-to-machine mould steels for the plastics industry – Whether PET bottle, car headlight or medical packaging – precisely shaped plastics are produced in moulds made of high-grade steel – Machine mould steels plastics industry

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Easy-to-machine mould steels for the plastics industry

 Editor: Rosemarie Stahl

Machine mould steels plastics industry
At NPE, Schmolz + Bickenbach will present steels particularly aimed at the plastics processing industry. (Source: Deutsche Edelstahlwerke)

Whether PET bottle, car headlight or medical packaging – precisely shaped plastics are produced in moulds made of high-grade steel. At NPE 2018, Schmolz + Bickenbach USA will be showcasing innovations and established solutions of mould steels from Deutsche Edelstahlwerke (DEW) and Finkl Steel.

The application-specific materials manufactured by the subsidiaries of the Schmolz + Bickenbach Group are resistant to corrosion, easy to polish, easy to machine and wear-resistant, depending on the material.

One of the main focuses at the show will be on an innovation from Finkl Steel. The pre-hardened mould steel Corebloc was engineered for the core plate of injection moulds of up to 1,015 mm in size as well as for injection moulding tools. The special steel is characterised by excellent through-hardenability compared to standard materials such as 4140 and 1.2312, Schmolz + Bickenbach said. Machinability and resistance to wear are also outstanding. Corebloc is suitable for laser-hardening, chrome-­plating and nitriding.

The plastic mould steel MD-Xtra SH (Super Hard) from the Finkl Steel portfolio will also be presented. Microalloying additions ensure higher hardness levels than other materials. With a hardness of up to 43 HRC, the wear resistance is significantly increased. Polishability is guaranteed up to 1200 grit. MD-Xtra SH is ideal for manufacturing sophisticated automotive components with extremely smooth surfaces, the company noted. 

“Bringing out the shine in plastic mould manufacturing” is the motto of this year’s trade fair launch of the corrosion-resistant, hardened high-grade steel Formadur PH X Superclean from DEW. With its polishability, it is an ideal solution for manufacturing reflector and lens moulds, DEW stated. Formadur 2083 Superclean from DEW is also known for good polishability and resistance to corrosion. Thanks to its wear resistance, it is ideal for PVC extrusion tools and smaller cross-section injection moulds. Schmolz + Bickenbach will also exhibit Corroplast FM from DEW, a material engineered for sophisticated plastic mould bases. According to DEW, the pre-hardened stainless steel convinces with its machining characteristics.

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Lorax Compliance welcomes EU vote on circular economy – Lorax Compliance has welcomed news that the European Parliament will introduce ambitious recycling and landfilling targets – Lorax Compliance EU circular economy

Lorax Compliance EU circular economy Lorax Compliance EU circular economy Lorax Compliance EU circular economy Lorax Compliance EU circular economy Lorax Compliance EU circular economy Lorax Compliance EU circular economy Lorax Compliance EU circular economy 

Lorax Compliance welcomes EU vote on circular economy

Lorax Compliance has welcomed news that the European Parliament will introduce ambitious recycling and landfilling targets.

Lorax Compliance EU circular economy
Michelle Carvell, chief operating officer, Lorax Compliance

The packaging compliance specialist appreciates the aim to improve the way in which, among other things, packaging waste is managed. The vote, which took place on 18 April, has seen the key waste management element of the Circular Economy Action Plan move one step closer to Europe-wide adoption.

Alongside requiring 55% of all municipal waste to be recycled by 2025, and 65% by 2035, the targets outline that no more than 10% of municipal waste should go to landfill by 2035. There will be separate collections for textiles, bio-waste and hazardous waste, and objectives such as reducing food waste by 50% in the EU will also be introduced in line with UN sustainable development goals.

The new legislation will enable more effective support of the ethos of the waste hierarchy, with a mandatory extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme to be established for all packaging by 2025. This will extend the producer’s responsibility for a product to the post-consumer stage of its lifecycle.

Michelle Carvell, chief operating officer, Lorax Compliance, commented: “It’s a really positive step forward to see European MEPs debating waste strategy and the circular economy with such passion and ferocity. Ambitious targets are essential if we are to make a dent in the waste problem, so to see a commitment to phasing out landfill to less than 10% of municipal waste over the next 20 years is welcome indeed.

“From a manufacturer perspective, it’s important to have clarity on what the new EPR requirements will mean. There will be a greater incentive to reduce and prevent packaging waste at every stage of a product’s lifecycle. The right infrastructure and development work needs to be put in place now to make this a reality in the future. We expect to see better performance and stronger governance of EPR schemes and a much greater focus on waste prevention. All-in-all, good news for the environment.”

Following adoption by the European Parliament this week, the Council will now need to formally approve the text before it is published in the Official Journal of the EU. It will come into force 20 days’ later.”

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“No redundancies in Sinterama, 23 workers will be relocated” – Sinterama 23 workers relocated

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“No redundancies in Sinterama, 23 workers will be relocated”

“Nessun licenziamento in Sinterama, 23 lavoratori saranno ricollocati”

Sinterama 23 workers relocated

La notizia della procedura avviata da Sinterama per l’esubero di 23 lavoratori nello stabilimento di Sandigliano viene smentita da Paola Coda, rappresentante sindacale della Cisl in azienda che segue le vicende del gruppo biellese specializzato nel comparto delle fibre sintetiche di poliesteri per tessuti destinati all’automotive, all’arredamento e agli impieghi tecnici dal 2003.

Paola Coda era presente al tavolo delle trattative di mercoledì scorso all’Unione Industriale: “È stata aperta la procedura di chiusura del reparto di testurizzazione ad aria e il reparto cernita che sarà trasferito a Nova Zagora in Bulgaria ma non certo per licenziare dei dipendenti – spiega a Newsbiella – ci sarà il ricollocamento all’interno di Sinterama per buona parte di loro. Altri andranno in pensione con l’utilizzo di ammortizzatori sociali e seguendo criteri di legge”.

Viene confermato lo spostamento della produzione per i costi troppo elevati: “Ma a Sandigliano si manterrà un mini reparto di progetto e sviluppo. Dal punto di vista effettivo in quel settore lavorano 14 persone, 4 o 5 saranno spostati”. La trattativa tra azienda e sindacati proseguirà giovedì 26 aprile.

“La procedura per i 23 licenziamenti è sul tavolo ed è stata avviata – conferma invece Alessandra Ranghetti, Segretario Territoriale della Uiltec  – il problema c’è e verrà affrontato con la speranza di una risoluzione positiva. Certo è che le riforme del mercato del lavoro attuali penalizzano aziende, i lavoratori e le loro famiglie”.

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-Sinterama launches the new product Newlife FR during Heimtextil (9-12 January 2018)  – Sinterama Newlife FR Heimtextil

Mundotextil to show Ecotec based smart towel at Heimtextil – Mundotextil, a leading towel manufacturer in Europe, with Marchi & Fildi, a company from Italy that makes speciality cotton-based yarns for the textile industry – Mundotextil Ecotec smart towel Heimtextil

Sinterama dismisses 23 employees and transfers a department to Bulgaria: unions open negotiations – Sinterama dismisses 23 employees Bulgaria

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Sinterama dismisses 23 employees and transfers a department to Bulgaria: unions open negotiations

Sinterama licenzia 23 dipendenti e trasferisce un reparto in Bulgaria: sindacati aprono una trattativa

Sinterama dismisses 23 employees Bulgaria
stefano zavagli
sandigliano (biella)

Nessuno stop forzato, niente cassa integrazione dal 2015, solo 15 giorni di chiusura nel periodo estivo. La notizia per i sindacati è stata un fulmine a ciel sereno e un nuovo campanello d’allarme per il comparto tessile biellese: la Sinterama, azienda di Sandigliano con oltre 200 addetti in questo stabilimento (circa 900 in totale), impegnata nel comparto delle fibre sintetiche di poliesteri per tessuti destinati al settore dell’automotive e dell’arredamento, ha avviato la procedura per l’esubero di 23 lavoratori. Si tratta degli addetti impiegati nel reparto di testurizzazione. «In azienda si è sempre continuato a lavorare – spiega il segretario territoriale della Uiltec Alessandra Ranghetti -, ma confermiamo l’apertura di un tavolo. Si tratta di una strategia del gruppo: delocalizzare all’estero, in questo caso in Bulgaria, per ridurre i costi di produzione».

TRATTATIVA

L’attenzione dei sindacati si sposta sul futuro dei lavoratori. Lo stop del reparto nello stabilimento di Biella, per l’entrata a regime dell’impianto in Bulgaria di Nova Zagora, dovrebbe avvenire entro fine anno. I 23 dipendenti hanno un’età media abbastanza elevata, attorno ai 48 anni, a molti mancano pochi anni per raggiungere la pensione e hanno dedicato buona parte del loro percorso professionale all’interno dell’azienda: «Siamo in una fase di discussione – spiega Barbara Piva, segretario della Femca Cisl -, la nostra richiesta è quella di ricollocare in altri reparti le persone in esubero tramite tutti gli strumenti che ci fornisce la legge. La trattativa è aperta e andiamo avanti, con ottimismo». Secondo i sindacati comunque il gruppo è solido: alla base della ristrutturazione aziendale ci sarebbe solamente una razionalizzazione dei costi, con una parte di produzione trasferita in un paese con costi di produzione ridotti come la Bulgaria.

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-Sinterama launches the new product Newlife FR during Heimtextil (9-12 January 2018)  – Sinterama Newlife FR Heimtextil

Mundotextil to show Ecotec based smart towel at Heimtextil – Mundotextil, a leading towel manufacturer in Europe, with Marchi & Fildi, a company from Italy that makes speciality cotton-based yarns for the textile industry – Mundotextil Ecotec smart towel Heimtextil

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