Clothing sanitizing technology could reduce fashion industry waste

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An eco-friendly method of sanitizing clothes could help the environment by “significantly” reducing waste, researchers from the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) have said.

In tests conducted by the University team, a state-of-the-art “disinfection chamber” was shown to effectively kill a wide range of germs and viruses, such as E. coli, S aureus and the coronavirus, which can otherwise linger on clothing and fashion accessories.

The disinfection chamber is currently PPE tested, making it safe to reuse, which could significantly reduce environmental waste of PPE products.

Researcher Dr Mohammed Yaseen said: “This breakthrough technology has real potential to disrupt the fashion and textile industry and offers enormous environmental benefits, which could lead to a significant reduction in landfill waste for garments.”

Currently, around 40% of clothes purchased online are returned, with less than half being resold and the rest ending up in landfills or burned. By extending the life of a garment by three months, its carbon footprint is reduced by 10% and a second-hand purchase or rental garment saves 1 kg of waste, 3,040 liters of water and 22 kg of CO2.

The technology was developed alongside Glasgow-based ACS, which extends the life of used or damaged garments for some of the country’s biggest brands, through their sustainable repair, refurbishment and replacement service. textile cleaning.

Anthony Burns, COO of ACS Clothing, said: “Every piece of PPE presents a sustainability and recycling challenge. Many items were initially considered single-use because knowledge about sterilizing these items was not available. With sterilization technology, we hope to reverse much of this single-use problem.

Yaseen added, “The eco-friendly solution uses ozone gas to decontaminate fabrics, which in turn reduces water usage and avoids the negative environmental impacts of using detergents.

In 2020, researchers from the University of Manchester warned that the fashion industry needed to make urgent and fundamental changes to avoid devastating environmental damage.

It is currently one of the biggest industrial polluters in the world and continues to grow, in part due to the rise of fast fashion. The British buy more clothes per person than any other European country, with only a limited amount of used clothes being reused or recycled; less than one percent of the materials used to produce clothes are recycled into new clothes.

Last year, researchers in the United States developed a new indigo dye technology that is supposed to be an environmentally friendly alternative to current methods.

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