The latest textile technology is emerging and quite exciting. Sweden reveals the world’s first garment made entirely from recycled cotton. The end game is to advance technology to the point of adding nutrients to clothes so if they are composted, they would benefit the soil.
With the world population growing rapidly and the competition to stay fashionable, apparel consumption has almost doubled since 2010.
Traditional garment recycling methods transform used garments into other materials such as carpet padding and filler, but the end life of those secondary materials end up in landfills anyway.
Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology has developed a way of recreating cotton, which not only accounts for roughly a third of the world’s textile consumption but is also in danger of becoming a scarce resource. The technology allows for recycling of all materials that contain cellulose.
According to Teijin, a recycled polyester process reduces CO2 emissions by 77% compared to polyester made from petroleum. The process also reduces the consumption of petroleum, the raw material from which polyester is made.
“The dyes are a problem, which is why we need innovation in dyes,” Lewis Perkins, senior vice president of the San Francisco-based Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute says. “But in the future we could even add valuable nutrients to clothes, which would benefit the soil when we compost them.”
Now that’s what I call full-circle recycle processes!
As a college student, I did my laundry more than most of my friends (and didn’t take it home to Mom at the end of the semester, either). “Clean” water seems to be decreasing in supply – although there’s an abundance of the salty variety covering the planet. We’ve come up with a bunch of de-salination methods that have been in the news. This ‘fresh’ water is being used in many applications – farming, animal husbandry, drinking water for humans…
But what if we just decreased CONSUMPTION of the water that IS available? Or in any case, used the supply more efficiently? Here’s a look at technology that aims to minimize the amount of water being used for the laundering of fabrics. Although it’s not strictly new tech, having been around for several years, it is being used with greater frequency in industrial applications and may be available for household consumers in the near future.