Last week my family gathered all of the clothing that was too small, too worn or too embarrassing to let me wear out and took it for recycling. It struck me as such a waste in money and energy, for good reason.
The production of textiles, from the pesticides we use on cotton fields to creating denim, is grossly inefficient generating 23 kilos of greenhouse gases for every kilo of fabric. That does not include their disposal, which amounts to 11 billion kilograms per year. It’s a huge environmental issue that organizations and governments are scrambling to tackle.
In the last four years alone, companies have filed significantly more patents in the domain then universities as they race to bring fabrics to the market that are smart and recyclable (see above). Market leaders, such as Patagonia, are already taking on the challenge to create fabrics that are more sustainable, like neoprene for wetsuits made without oil.
So pull on your ripped jeans and roll up the sleeves of your old plaid shirt –an old industry needs a new tech approach!