The ambitious plan to publicly track every new garment we buy
July 23rd, 2019
by Elizabeth Segran
Natasha Franck, founder and CEO of fashion technology company EON, believes we will one day be able to throw our old shirts in the recycling bin along with our plastic bottles and glass jars. At the recycling center, those textiles will be sent to a machine where they will be pulped and turned into brand-new fibers. Eventually, when this system is perfected, we won’t need to use any more carbon-intensive petroleum to make polyester dresses or water-intensive cotton to make jeans. We could turn all the old, tossed-out garments that already exist on the planet into brand-new clothes in an entirely circular system. “We would be able to decouple resource consumption from economic growth,” says Franck.
Many fashion executives believe this kind of circularity is a long way off. Right now, less than 1% of materials within the $1.9 trillion global fashion industry are recycled, largely because fabrics are much more complex than the other items we recycled, like plastic or paper. Most clothes today contain blends of organic and synthetic materials. It can be hard to figure out what fibers are in a garment (since there are no requirements that brands accurately report this), and it is even harder to separate these fibers and turn them into new fabrics... (Read more)