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Discovery Report
The future of
Chemistry is closing the loop on fashion waste
Illustration by Chris Gash

The fashion industry is all about the latest trends, and sustainability is in.

Make no mistake, however: the textile industry as a whole is still causing harm to our planet. Clothing represents about 60% of global textile use, and clothing production has doubled in the last 15 years, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. It’s challenging to capture the scope of the problem, because labyrinthine textile supply chains span the globe. Estimates of the industry’s carbon footprint range from 4% to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Harvard Business Review.

There’s reason to be hopeful, however. This report examines how chemists and entrepreneurs are rethinking textiles. You’ll meet entrepreneurs finding ways to recycle polyester clothes over and over again, scientists dyeing fabrics without using precious water, companies making synthetic fabrics without petroleum feedstocks, and more.

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