Product, Service & Design Innovation
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America's Pastime, Swedish Ingenuity Spur Proliferation of Recycled Textiles

SustainU, a West Virginia-based leading producer of apparel using fabrics from 100 percent recycled, domestically manufactured materials, this week announced a partnership with Major League Baseball (MLB) to produce licensed apparel for the 2016 season.

"We are so proud to launch our new line of products with Major League Baseball," said Chris Yura, founder and CEO of SustainU, which uses postindustrial cottons and postconsumer polyester to make comfortable and durable garments. "We represent American craftsmanship, innovation and localized production. This pairs perfectly with America's pastime and we're excited to showcase our collection online and in stadiums around the country."

The company is manufacturing T-shirts incorporating the logos of every MLB team, but with an updated flare that it says embodies “millennial, fashion and outdoor adventure-inspired graphics to resonate with a new generation of fans that advocate sustainability, outdoor conservation and related social values.”

The "MLB by SustainU" line is now available in stadiums and online at MLB.com/shop and SustainUclothing.com.


Meanwhile, plans for a demonstration plant that will recycle cotton into a new textile pulp that can then be used to produce new clothes are coming together in Sweden.

Stockholm-based re:newcell has developed a technology that makes it possible to turn jeans, t-shirts and other cotton garments into a new pulp, known as dissolving pulp, that can then be used to make materials such as viscose or lyocell.

Having honed the technology since 2012, the company is now devoting €8 million (£6.3 million) to building a demonstration plant to produce the first line; the plant will reside at an AkzoNobel facility in nearby Kristinehamn.

“We are very pleased to now be able to move forward and contribute to realizing the dream of a sustainable textile industry,” said re:newcell chairman Malcolm Norlin. “Kristinehamn is located in the paper province in Varmland and gives us access to great skills when it comes to resource-efficient mass production. We consider it very positive that we can operate from a first-class facility such as AkzoNobel in Kristinehamn.”

A similar technology was awarded a €300,000 grand prize at the first-ever Global Change Award in February — a €1 million challenge for early-stage innovation in the fashion industry. An initiative of the H&M Conscious Foundation, the goal of the Award is to catalyze bold, pioneering ideas to help protect the planet by closing the loop for fashion. The top five winning ideas ranged from creating new textiles out of citrus juice by-products and an online marketplace for recycling of textile leftovers to using microbes to recycle waste polyester.

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