• Home
  • News
  • Fashion
  • Decomposed waste could soon make fashion's raw materials

Decomposed waste could soon make fashion's raw materials

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

Dec 8, 2021

Fashion

Image: Mycelium, Pexels

A new project spearheaded by the Biomimicry Institute aims to find novel uses for the 92 million tonnes of fashion waste that is discarded annually.

The two-year programme researches new ways to use decomposed waste elements into fibres for fashion.

Together with the Metabolic Institute and HKRITA, the Institute is conducting a landscape analysis of commercially-ready decomposition technologies. These technologies are then piloted to find diverse alternatives for decomposition of textile waste in a major European city, working with local businesses, communities, and government to develop detailed strategic plans for future expansion.

The Institute was recently awarded 2.5 million euros by the Laudes Foundation, a not-for profit that focuses on nature-inspired solutions for a healthy planet, to convert waste into biocompatible raw materials for fashion industry via a the multi-year Design for Decomposition initiative.

Eliminating microplastic from clothing

With more than a third of all microplastic pollution released from clothing and almost 92 million tonnes of fashion waste discarded annually, compromising people’s health and the environment, it is essential for the industry to embrace true decomposition and work with nature to help address the worst effects of textile waste. This is what Biomimicry Institute and its partners supported by the Laudes Foundation seek to achieve through this initiative.

The initiative, which demonstrates the Laudes Foundation’s commitment to helping the fashion industry harness its power for good and achieve systemic change, will take a deep dive into biological research of the various types and circumstances of natural decomposition, running local tests in Ghana, led by the OR Foundation based in Accra, as well as Amsterdam or Berlin. It will then match those approaches to the hundreds of known decomposition technologies to scale new bio-compatible solutions to prove that system change can happen globally.

Change is possible

The Biomimicry Institute says many in the fashion and textiles industries believe it is not possible manage without petroleum-based polyester; that the best “green strategies” can do is get better at recovering and recycling it. The Institute states it is confident human ingenuity can do a lot better than that by harnessing the same forces that helped make the planet so hospitable to life the first time: bacteria, enzymes, mycelium, and algae to build a truly biocompatible industry.