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US researchers find possible solution for textile waste

A team of designers and researchers at Cornell University in the US has developed a fabric-shedding machine, the Fiberizer, which they believe could provide a zero-waste solution for the textile industry. 

“The Fiberizer project aims to put textiles, destined for the landfill, to better use as materials to create new textiles and other products, reducing the consumption of natural resources and diverting unwanted clothing away from becoming waste,” explained Tasha Lewis, assistant professor of fibre science and apparel design at Cornell’s College of Human Ecology. 

The machine takes old garments, which are not usable or suitable for resale, and converts them to a fibrous mass. This can then be turned into something of value for the apparel industry. 

Ms Lewis said the Fiberizer was designed to allow users to take into consideration the composition of a textile, the value of the fibre content and how it is constructed. 

“This allows for a type of refurbished textile production from reclaimed apparel that can be used for new garments by the industry and create additional revenue streams for apparel, while at the same time reducing waste and promoting sustainability,” she added. 

The research team believe the potential uses of the resulting recycled material are wide-ranging. It is suitable for use in home products, garments and art, as well as having horticultural applications. 

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