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Stella McCartney partners with Protein Evolution for textile recycling initiative

Chloe Burney
20 December 2022

US-based biological recycling company Protein Evolution, Inc. (PEI) is teaming up with British fashion label Stella McCartney for a research and development project.

The collaboration hopes to find ways to turn unused polyester and nylon into ‘good-as-new’ products. It also aims to showcase the potential of PEI's enzyme-based technology to recycle synthetic fabrics and plastic trash in a low-emission, environmentally friendly method. The recycled fabric will be used to generate plastic bottles, textiles, and other renewable plastic items.

In 2023, Protein Evolution will recycle leftover synthetic fabric from Stella McCartney's designs to create fibres. The brand's suppliers will then investigate ways to repurpose these fresh fibres into new clothing and accessories.

Scott Stankey, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at PEI, commented: “Our proprietary biological recycling process has the power to enable circularity efforts across the textile industry. By partnering with Stella McCartney, we are able to test our platform in a real-world setting and collectively learn how to seamlessly integrate PEI’s technology into existing manufacturing processes.

“This collaboration will ultimately demonstrate for the first time how complex fabric types, such as nylon and polyester blends, can be fully re-used to make new plastic material in a low-energy, cost-effective way.”

Stella McCartney has championed sustainable materials since her brand's conception and was an early investor in Protein Evolution and its technology. This year, she debuted the world's first luxury bag made from mycelium, the root-like structure of mushrooms.

McCartney added: “The dreadful amount of fast fashion manufactured that ends up in landfills is absolutely astonishing, both in terms of the natural resources consumed and the sheer amount squandered. Circular and regenerative solutions provide an upbeat view of the future of fashion, and we must take action now to safeguard our world for future generations.”

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