Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Bloom Labs

Recycling waste materials into high-quality fibres

Fashion & Beauty

Advanced protein engineering creates high-end fibres without the need for virgin materials

Spotted: Non-profit Textile Exchange’s Climate+ goal is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions in the fibre, textile, and fashion industries by 45 per cent compared with 2019 figures. In 2023, however, the organisation reported a 4.26 per cent increase in emissions.

To get the industry where it needs to be, a lot more work needs to be done, and one company that’s here to help is Bloom Labs. The New York-based materials science startup has created a proprietary recycling process that turns natural waste by-products into high-end natural fibres.

Using waste protein-based fibres (silk, cashmere, down, and wool), the company’s technology combines advanced protein engineering, molecular biology, and bio-manufacturing to reconstitute the materials into plastic-like pellets. The pellets are transportable and easily introduced into existing manufacturing processes where they are spun into extra-durable natural fibres with all the best qualities of silk, cotton, and polyester.

Other biowaste streams such as the down used in bedding are also valuable sources of feedstock for the process, and Bloom Labs hopes to eventually be able to use poultry feather agriculture waste, too. With many designers and manufacturers lamenting the quality of recycled fibres, Bloom Labs’ technique and technology seek to replace virgin materials and petroleum-based polyesters with high-quality, recycled fibres identical in look and feel to the original version.

In May, the company won the first Global Fashion Agenda’s Trailblazer award, and investors highlighted the scalability of the solution as one of the most important aspects of meeting world decarbonisation goals. As Bloom Labs scales its operations and production capability, it continues to focus on developing its technology to create a bio-polyester that directly replaces the current petrochemical version.

Written By: Keely Khoury


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