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Brands, manufacturers looking at a closed loop chain

Some forward-thinking brands are aiming at creating a closed-loop textile supply chain. To bring about a closed-loop supply chain, industry players across the world are finding innovative ways to recycle and reuse, and some are even creating entirely new fibers and textiles from eco-friendly — and often unexpected — materials. To create a more sustainable process, some textile companies are developing alternative fibers from waste products, finding innovative ways to recycle fibers, and even fermenting agricultural products to make new materials. In Germany, Qmilk turns spoiled milk into fabric by drying out the milk and making it into a dough, from which a thin protein-based fiber is created. An Italian company is using citrus byproducts to create a spinnable fabric. In California and Japan, companies are working with sugar, water, salts, and yeast to make fermented spider silk thread. Pineapple leaves from plantations in the Philippines are used as faux leather.

Besides expanding the range of materials, textile suppliers are also looking at o reducing waste by recycling fibers. Evrnu, for example, uses cotton garment waste to make a fine fiber with a process using 98 percent less water and 90 percent less carbon emissions than cotton and polyester respectively. Similarly, Circular Systems, a starup, is taking factory floor scraps to turn them into yarn instead of burning them. This increases resource efficiency, by 20 per cent of textiles going into the factory end up in the cutting room floor. Fabric production has a big footprint. Overall, the world produces more than a 100 million tons of fiber a year. Millions of tons of new clothing, footwear, sheets, towels, and other products are being produced annually. The United States sends approximately 21 billion pounds of textile waste to landfills yearly.