Stella McCartney links with Protein Evolution on mixed-fibre textile recycling
Stella McCartney is continuing her drive to make the fashion industry more eco-conscious and has linked up with US firm Protein Evolution that has a proprietary process designed to tackle one of the fashion sector’s biggest issues — how to recycle the many mixed fibres used in modern fashion products.
As part of the research & development partnership, the two businesses are looking to use Protein Evolution’s enzyme-based tech to give a new life to synthetic fabrics and other plastic waste, in a way that’s low-emission and eco-friendly. The aim is to create fibres that are “good as new”.
As mentioned, they’re particularly looking at mixed textile waste, including polyester and nylon. The difficulties or recycling mixed fibres have been a major issue for fashion firms seeking to be more sustainable.
So what happens now? From 2023, Protein Evolution will process leftover polyester and nylon fabric from Stella McCartney’s collections to create new fibres. McCartney’s suppliers will also work with the business on potential new uses for the fibres in clothing, footwear or other renewable products.
Scott Stankey, co-founder and chief technology officer at Protein Evolution, said: “Our proprietary biological recycling process has the power to enable circularity efforts across the textile industry. By partnering with Stella McCartney, we are able to test our platform in a real-world setting and collectively learn how to seamlessly integrate [our] technology into existing manufacturing processes.”
The company also said that the fashion industry accounts for up to 10% of global carbon dioxide output—more than international flights and shipping combined. And less than 1% of clothes collected for recycling are turned back into new textiles or garments.
Meanwhile, McCartney added that “the horrific amount of fast fashion produced that then goes to landfill is truly shocking, both from the natural resources used to the sheer quantity wasted. We hope to pioneer a new type of polyester from old materials. Establishing climate goals is one thing, taking meaningful steps toward a more sustainable future is what truly matters.”
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