When apparel items are worn out or no longer in style, they tend to be discarded in the trash to be dumped in the landfill. According to the latest available data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), textile waste accounted for 11.3 million tons or 7.7% of all MSW landfilled (2018). The repercussions of our clothing, however, go far beyond congested landfills. Fast fashion's rapid bulk production and marketing of clothes are also linked to high energy and water consumption, enormous greenhouse gas emissions, and water contamination, among other environmental hazards.
Several companies are now looking for innovative alternatives to eliminate pollution and wastefulness in the textile industry from the root. They are developing environmentally friendly materials using the power of science and nature to generate biodegradable textile components.
37.5 Technology, among others, is one textile supplier keeping up with technological advancements to enhance strategic advantage. Initially marketed by Cocona Inc, a pioneer in active particle technologies, 37.5 is now advancing smart textile solutions using an Enhanced Biodegradation additive sourced from a third party to speed up the biodegradation of synthetic fabrics in landfills. The additive will also improve the trapping of methane gas emissions, potentially lowering the product's warming impact as it breaks down in landfills.
According to Blair Kanis, the president of 37.5 Technology, the preliminary testing of the additive in the company's polyester fabrics reveals the potential of expedited biodegradation (half-life of 80 years) than what is currently feasible. A faster breakdown period is a beneficial cycle where waste can be converted into energy. It will help in converting methane gas into renewable energy while simultaneously preventing landfill piling, she adds.
The ultimate goal of the additive is to lessen the volume of clothes disposed of in landfills, accelerate the processing of existing waste, and contribute to ending the textile waste loop. As of now, 37.5 Technology is giving the additive without charge to brand partners purchasing their textiles. 37.5's smart textile solution is part of its more comprehensive mission toward climate neutrality. The company has plans to launch blockchain technology by the end of 2022 to increase its business accountability and transparency. All parties involved in the production and processing of the textile throughout the supply chain will input information to facilitate seamless data access and extraction for brand partners. 37.5 aims to eventually become climate neutral down the road.
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