The biologists at the University of York are currently working on a revolutionising £5.4m project that aims to convert textile waste into yarns. The Royal College of Art focuses on making the heavily-polluting fashion industry into a more environmentally-friendly one.
This is good news for the UK as more textiles can now be created. The UK university stated that over One million tonnes of fabric are sent to incinerators and landfill annually.
Prof Simon McQueen-Mason, of the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products, stated that the fashion sector was worth £32bn a year to the UK however, most of the garments and almost all the textiles are imported. He stated that clothes are often only kept for a few years before being thrown away and the emission levels from the fashion industry are almost as high as the total CO2 emitted through using cars.
He added that the clothing and fashion sector is currently one of the most polluting, responsible for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 20% of global wastewater. He believes that their approach will drastically reduce carbon emissions and wastewater from textile productions. This will result in creating a more secure local supply chain.
To develop the new material the scientists in the laboratories in York will break down the old textiles, household waste and crop residues into simple sugars through enzymes. Then they will be further converted to cellulose, and the fibres will be spun to create new textiles at the University of Cranfield.
The fabric will then be handed over to the students at the Royal College of Art where it will be converted into garments.
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