Unmet Need: Efficient use of textile waste
The worldwide fiber consumption for consumer textile products has been growing steadily in the past several decades due to population growth and living standard improvement. Given the fact that only about 15% of the post-consumer textiles are recycled, the number of textiles that contribute to the municipal solid waste (MSW) increases accordingly. Statistics from EPA shows every American adult averagely abandons 31 kilograms (i.e., 68 pounds) textiles each year, which account for 5% of MSW. Approximately two-thirds by weight of the textile wastes are cotton products, converted to 3.7% of the MSW, which is either buried in landfill or burned in incinerators. Substantial amount of greenhouse gases and toxic chemicals and odors are generated in landfills and/or incinerators. This not only severely harms the environment and human health, but also is in contradiction with the efficient use of natural cellulose resources.
The Technology: Regenerating fiber from texting waste through recycling
Researchers at WSU College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resource Sciences along with the College of Mechanical and Materials Engineering have developed a novel method for recycling cotton waste by dissolving cotton from used textile with environmentally friendly solvents and spinning high quality virgin regenerated fibers for a broad range of end uses.
• Obtains continuous fiber with fabulous luster.
• Cotton production that need not involve dyeing process.
• Regenerated fiber possesses same chemical composition as original cotton.
• Dissolving process does not alter the cellulose molecular structure of the original cotton.
• Eco-friendly manufacturing process.
• Avoidance of toxic chemicals used to produce fresh cotton and rayon.
United States Patent PCT/US2018/032239 published on 11/22/2018.