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Lululemon To Design Clothing With The First-Ever Fabric From Recycled Emissions
By Ell Ko, 19 Jul 2021
Image via LanzaTech
In the (near) future, you could put two pairs of yoga leggings side by side, and struggle to tell which is made from traditional materials, and which is made from recycled carbon emissions.
Partnering with athletic apparel giant Lululemon is LanzaTech, a startup that turns pollution into ethanol. In this collaboration, the ethanol will be used as feedstock for polyester to develop a material indiscernible from the fabric Lululemon already uses, Fast Company reports.
LanzaTech uses ethanol which comes from a steel mill. Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of the steel production, and the fermentation of that carbon monoxide by a commercial plant produces ethanol. If the carbon monoxide wasn’t captured in this way, it would be released as CO2 pollution.
The company worked with India Glycols to turn the ethanol into monoethylene glycol (MEG), which is usually obtained from fossil fuels. Textile manufacturer Far Eastern New Century then used the MEG to make polyester, which is called the TOPGREEN Bio3-PET fiber. It has the same appearance, properties, and functionality of virgin polyester, the original.
“From our current samples, the fabric has the same properties as traditional polyester, even when used in our most complex fabric,” reports Ted Dagnese, chief supply chain officer at Lululemon, in a statement.
Lululemon hasn’t yet announced which products the fabric may be used in, but it’s a promising step for tech in sustainability. Since polyester is a widely used material in clothing, this definitely bodes progress in the fashion industry as a whole, too.
[via Fast Company, image via LanzaTech]
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