US biological recycling company Protein Evolution, Inc. (PEI) has announced a research and development collaboration with Stella McCartney in order to demonstrate a circular solution for the fashion industry by turning unused polyester and nylon fabrics into “good-as-new” products.
In order to generate plastic bottles, textiles, and other indefinitely renewable plastic items that are as good as new, the collaboration intends to show the potential of PEI's enzyme-based technology to recycle synthetic fabrics and plastic trash in a low-emission, environmentally friendly method.
Starting in 2023, Protein Evolution will recycle leftover nylon and polyester fabric from Stella McCartney's designs to create fibers that are just as excellent as new. Then, the brand's suppliers and partners will investigate how these fresh fibers might be used in the creation of fresh apparel and footwear.
Scott Stankey, co-founder and chief technology officer at PEI, said that their specialized biological recycling method has the potential to support circularity initiatives throughout the textile sector. They are able to test their platform in a practical context by collaborating with Stella McCartney, and they can all learn how to smoothly incorporate PEI's technology into current manufacturing procedures.
Stankey added that this partnership will ultimately show, for the first time, how complicated fabric types, such nylon and polyester mixes, can be totally recycled to create new plastic material in an efficient and affordable manner.
Stella McCartney, a pioneer in the use of sustainable materials, was an early investor in Protein Evolution and a supporter of the company's technology. This summer, she debuted the world's first luxury bag made from mycelium, the root-like structure of fungi. She also uses the bioengineered yarn "MicroSilk" in her collections.
Stella McCartney said that the dreadful amount of fast fashion manufactured that ends up in landfills is absolutely astonishing, both in terms of the natural resources consumed and the sheer amount squandered. Circular and regenerative solutions provide an upbeat view of the future of fashion, and we must take action now to safeguard our world for future generations. With the help of Protein Evolution, they intend to pioneer the creation of a brand-new polyester from recycled resources. Setting climate objectives is one thing; what matters most is making significant progress toward a more sustainable future.
Collaborative Fund's climate-focused Collab SOS, which collaborates with McCartney, took the lead in the inaugural funding round for PEI. With additional funding from New Climate Ventures, Eldridge, Nextrans, and Good Friends, which is supported by the founders of Warby Parker, Allbirds, and Harry's, the biological recycling business raised more than 20 million US dollars in October 2022.
Connor Lynn, co-founder and chief business officer at PEI, said that despite considerable and strong industry pledges toward sustainability, the present method to plastic recycling is expensive, unproductive, and resource intensive. One of the numerous reasons why spent plastic is piling up is because it is now much cheaper for petrochemical companies to make new, "virgin," plastics than it is to recycle existing materials, which is one of many reasons why used plastic is piling up in our oceans, landfills, and incinerators.
Lynn added that PEI had developed a low-energy, affordable technology for upcycling finished plastics that are ready to allay industry worries and provide significant environmental advantages. A new era of plastics that is genuinely sustainable and circular is something they are actively pursuing.
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