Your Next Shirt Could be Made from Fruit and Vegetable Scraps

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I see that H&M is mentioned in this article. We saw joint investment in Sri Lanka by H&M and their factories in sustainability during our tours there in 2010. So it makes sense that H&M would invest in the following project.

Your next shirt could be made from fruit and vegetable scraps

The fashion industry is said to be the second most polluting industry on Earth after oil and gas. It requires enormous quantities of resources, including water, land, and fossil fuels, to make fabric. The production process is often harmful to the environment, relying on harsh chemical dyes and finishes.

Fortunately, more people are becoming aware of these problems, thanks to eye-opening documentaries like “The True Cost,” sustainable fashion advocates like actress Emma Watson and activist Livia Firth, and high-profile reports like the one recently published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Headlines warning of plastic microfibre pollution have helped to push the issue into the spotlight, and there is growing backlash against ‘disposable’ fast fashion.

It’s a good time, in other words, to be a sustainable fashion startup, especially if you offer an innovative new technology that solves multiple problems at once. This is precisely what Circular Systems is doing. The new materials science company was recently awarded a $350,000 grant in the form of a Global Change Award by the H&M Foundation for its work in transforming food waste fibers into usable fabrics.

The idea is brilliant and dead-simple. There is a ton of food crop waste globally, an estimated 250 million tons from the byproducts of five key food crops — bananas peels and stalks, pineapple leaves, flax and hemp stalks, and crushed sugar cane. Using Circular Systems’ new technology, this waste can be turned into fabric, which means:

(a) Farmers don’t have to burn the waste and contribute to air pollution
(b) Less waste will be sent to landfill to rot and emit methane
(c) Arable land is freed up to grow food, rather than fabric crops
(d) There is less demand for fossil fuels to make synthetic fabrics
(e) Fewer chemicals would be needed to grow cotton, a high-input crop

We’ve called the technology ‘new,’ but in reality it’s a throwback to the past. There was a time when the vast majority of clothes were made from natural fibers (97 percent of clothing in 1960), but that number has shrunk to only 35 percent today. By harnessing the bounty of food waste fibers, Circular Systems’ founder Isaac Nichelsen says 2.5 times the current global demand for fiber could be met. Read More

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