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Walmart to fund textile research projects in US

US retail corporation Walmart will provide nearly $3 million in grants to six of the country’s leading research and academic institutions to support their research into innovations in textile manufacturing. 

The US Manufacturing Innovation Fund, which is administered by The Walmart Foundation, has provided a total of $10 million in grants since its launch in 2014. It focuses on the development of US manufacturing, with the aim of making it more sustainable and competitive. 

Walmart said the 2017 recipients were selected as they are working to address two key challenges in domestic manufacturing: reducing the cost of textile manufacturing by addressing obstacles throughout production; and improving common manufacturing processes. They are:

Washington State University, which is working to establish an environmentally friendly process to recycle cotton waste by fiber regeneration using a wet spinning technique.
North Carolina State University, which is developing a sustainable commercial textile dyeing method that doesn’t use salts or alkalis, doesn’t produce effluent, and uses 95% less energy and water.
Clemson University, which is researching polyester fibres that achieve a high level of water and oil repellency.
Oregon State University, which is examining solutions for sustainable, cost-effective dyeing and printing and smart fabrics.
Texas Tech University, which has projects related to various aspects of textile manufacturing, dyeing efficiency and specialty finishes.
University of Massachusetts Lowell, which is exploring magnetic dyeing technology to address the technical and environmental issues of current dyeing techniques.

“Advancing the production or assembly of consumer products in the US is the number one goal of the Innovation Fund,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “As these projects come to fruition over the next few years, we hope the research not only enables cost-effective solutions for manufacturers, but also improves the sustainability of the US textile industry.”

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