Deadline: 2019-04-14 Award: $20,000 Open to: Everyone*
Recycling of textiles mostly consists of either mechanically chopping/shredding the material and reforming the fibers by spinning, or chemically/thermally breaking down the fibers and spinning. Polymeric materials can be recycled and re-extruded as well.
In most cases, the resulting fibers are generally shorter than the starting material making it of a lesser quality. For polymeric materials, the extruded material can be very similar to the virgin material, but these recycling processes also use a lot of energy, water and chemicals driving up the cost close and even above the cost of the starting material.
This Challenge is looking for new ideas on ways to “deconstruct” textiles such that they are closer to the starting materials in quality and lower in overall costs. Approaches could be to come up with a new starting materials that have deconstruction “built in” or new processes that can easily deconstruct the textiles with higher quality and less costs. All new and unique ideas are welcome.