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May 4, 2024

Can tech reduce fashion waste?

Can tech be the solution to dramatically reducing fashion waste?

Can tech reduce fashion waste?

Overview

The fashion industry diverts 92m tonnes of textiles to incinerators or landfills each year and less than one percent of textile waste is recycled into new clothing. A garbage truck full of clothing is either incinerated or sent to a landfill every second.

The textile production process is extremely resource-intensive. Cotton production uses 3.3 million acres of land and 6 billion cubic m³ of water annually. Polyester production uses 70 million barrels of oil each year. Polycotton takes around 200 years to biodegrade, and it releases toxic compounds when burned in incinerators.

Circ has developed a revolutionary method for recycling polycotton

Circ’s chemical recycling process involves a combination of water, heat, pressure, and chemicals, which separates mixed polymer streams, specifically any blend of polyester and cotton.

This results in

  • A recovery of 90% of the original materials keeping the integrity of the fibers.
  • A high-quality cotton cellulose, which can replace tree pulp in fibers like lyocell, rayon/viscose, and modal.

Current Status: So far Circ has recycled 12 tons of apparel waste, and has the capacity to do 2 tons per day once production increases. While they’re focused on polyester and cotton blends now, Circ plans to include more materials and can handle up to 5% of spandex in their recycling processes.

Reference

https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/can-fabric-waste-become-fashions-resource

https://www.voguebusiness.com/sustainability/zara-teams-up-with-circ-to-launch-recycled-fibre-collection#:~:text=Made%20from%20polyester%2Dcotton%20waste,for%20building%20a%20circular%20economy.&text=To%20become%20a%20Vogue%20Business,Sustainability%20Edit%20newsletter%2C%20click%20here.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/circ-earthshot-prize-finalist-ecycling-plastic-out-of-cotton-polyester-clothes/