SUMMARY: Evrnu has developed a proprietary technology that goes far beyond standard garment recycling to deconstruct used cotton textiles at the molecular level, creating a range of multi-purpose regenerated cellulose fibers far stronger and more durable than the original fabrics. The global textile and apparel industry relies on a vulnerable, resource-intensive supply chain that has few solutions for the waste it creates. Currently, consumers dispose of 80% of all textiles directly to landfill. If Evrnu’s technology, still at an early stage of development, succeeds in the market and is widely adopted, it could "upcycle" millions of tons of polluting waste. Their process uses very little energy or water, almost no virgin materials, and a minimum of chemical solvents—98% of which can be recaptured and reused to repeat the process. This makes Evrnu’s innovation "the most environmentally friendly fiber on the planet." Should this highly expert team with decades of experience in the garment industry achieve its goals, their initiative has the potential to be a game-changer in the world of textiles, and to make major contributions toward reducing the energy consumption, massive water use, and devastating environmental damage engendered by the lifecycle of cotton and other fabrics.
PROBLEM SPACE: "The global textile and apparel industry relies on a vulnerable, resource-intensive supply chain that has few solutions for the waste it creates. In the United State alone, 14 million tons of textile waste are created each year, roughly 30% of which is cotton. Because of the near-total lack of economical recycling methods, consumers dispose of 80% of all textiles directly to landfill. Of the textiles donated, 20% eventually end up in landfill or incineration.
Textile industry-related pollution is a major global environmental problem. Cotton and petroleum-based fibers form the vast majority of global textiles and are costly in terms of water, energy, toxicity, and greenhouse gas footprint. Roughly 34 million tons of cotton are grown each year, much of it in water-stressed regions, in which future cotton irrigation may be reduced to support human needs.
Consumer demand, negative environmental impact and waste creation are slated to increase.
In the face of resulting negative publicity, the apparel industry is increasingly pressured to provide its customers with garments that are socially and environmentally sustainable as well as priced competitively relative to other options. At this time there are no large scale, low impact options meeting consumer preference."
SOLUTION: "Evrnu's solution is to produce a regenerated cellulose fiber from post-consumer (worn and used garments) cotton waste, i.e. cotton regeneration, in the United States. This low impact fiber can be engineered to a wide variety of performance criteria simulating substitutes like cotton, polyester and silk. Evrnu has already prototyped fiber and fabric from post-consumer waste with these attributes. Evrnu's technology is a patent-pending chemical process which purifies waste cotton, dissolves it, and re-extrudes it as a pristine new fiber.
Using this process, Evrnu production has a dramatically reduced environmental impact, compared to other common available fibers. It creates only one-quarter the greenhouse gases of normal cotton and only 1.5% as much water. It uses little energy and produces little or no toxicity. According to preliminary analysis, it is the most environmentally friendly fiber on the planet.
Evrnu has already created and dyed prototype fabric in a pre-production, continuous extrusion line and is now moving towards advanced R&D and pilot-scale production. The first branded article of apparel with Evrnu fiber will be sewn in February of 2016 in partnership with Levi's."
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