NC State professors act against textile waste

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2021-02-11 15:08:18 – USA

With the fast fashion trend and delivering multiple collections per year, the fashion industry is generating a huge amount of textile waste which is being addressed as a serious growing issue over the past decade. A public research university, NC State considered estimation of textiles waste research in their topmost priorities.

 Associate professor in the Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science, Sonja Salmon is working on sustainable materials, recycling of textile waste, and degrading of materials using enzymes. The most prominent issue that the textile industries are facing is textile waste generation. It is due to the short lifespan of our trendy clothes. Salmon addresses that our love for fast fashion and trendy clothing is one of the main root causes of textile waste accumulation. He says the textiles are very complicated and well-engineered in structure and it is very hard to extract materials out of them to recycle once again. Their recent research is focused on the discovery of bio based textiles that can be easily degraded by enzymes. 

Ronalds Gonzalez, associate professor in the Department of Forest Biomaterials says issues with textile waste are adjacent to topics such as supply chain and conversion economics. 

According to him, the biggest challenge in textile waste management is the heterogeneity it is very important to segregate the materials at different levels of the supply chain to make recycling successful discharging of projects focusing on the conversion of textiles which starts from textile to bio sugars then too high-value chemicals then into reusable materials. The fashion industry is always changing and comes up with new ideas and innovations; for example, Cotton Inc. has their "Blue Jeans Go Green Program" where they collect jeans from people and turn them into insulations for homes. It was a small scale ideology. 

In the United States, around 10 million tons of textile waste end up in landfills every year but on the other side of the picture, many companies in different sectors are willing to take initiatives towards a sustainable future by changing their business practices dedicated to the environment.

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