Giving Textiles a Second Wind

As we all know, the fashion industry is one of the biggest sinners of modern-day pollution. It has even been named the second dirtiest industry in the world, only beaten by the oil and gas, and has been claimed to be responsible for about 10% of all carbon emissions worldwide. Fast fashion is all about getting from concept to product as fast as possible, but what happens afterwards?

These days we’ve been hearing a lot about the circular economy, and many forward-thinking companies are focusing their energy on the entire life-cycle of their products. This includes how to break down or re-use the raw materials when the item is no longer wanted.

A group of Swedish scientists claim to have taken a step towards a more sustainable fashion industry. The recently published press release out of Mistra Future Fashion tells the story of how their new method Blend Re:wind can separate cotton and polyester from the blend textile polycotton, to chemically recycle the fibers into new textiles.

Recycling in fashion has so far been limited to breaking down pure fibers and chemically remolding them into new fibers. This process is greatly impacted by the fact that apparel is often made up of mixed fibers.

The scientists out of Sweden have been working on this award-winning method for 6 years, showing an alternative and more sustainable way of producing new fibers while reducing the amount of redundant textiles in the world.

Mistra Future Fashion explains how they chemically break down cotton fibers and recycle them into quality viscose filaments. This circular solution is used on both cotton and polyester.

We saw this mindset when we reported on w.r.yuma, who uses recycled plastic in their 3D-printed sunglasses. The motivation behind these products is simple: we want zero waste and a cleaner planet. To make the circular economy the only way for future businesses, it is vital that these methods are both affordable and scalable.

Dr. Hanna de la Motte, theme leader in Mistra Future Fashion explains that Blend Re:wind was developed with zero waste in mind. Creating the method using existing platforms already installed in the Swedish forest industry and the viscose industry, gives the team hope that the Blend Re:wind could be an easily integrated solution.

We love seeing people change the world, one innovation at a time, and we’re hopeful that the circular economy is the way forward for the fashion industry.

Images via Mistra Future Fashion and w.r.yuma

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