Context

The UK sends around one million tonnes of waste textiles to incineration and landfill each year and the emission levels caused by the industry are almost as high as the total CO2 emitted through people using cars.

The fashion sector is worth £32 billion annually to the UK economy, but most clothing and almost all textile and yarn are imported. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the fragility of these supply chains and the UK’s dependency on them.

Aims and Objectives

A bacterial cellulose

The Textiles Circularity Centre will turn post-consumer textiles, crop residues and household waste into renewable materials for use in textiles, developing new supply chains, textile production, design and consumer experience.

The Textiles Circularity Centre (TCC) proposes materials security for the UK by circularising resource flows of textiles. This will stimulate innovation and economic growth in the UK textile manufacturing, SME apparel and creative technology sectors, whilst reducing reliance on imported and environmentally and ethically impactful materials, and diversifying supply chains. The TCC will provide underpinning research understanding to enable the transition to a more circular economy that supports the brand ‘designed and made in the UK’. To enact this vision, we will catalyse growth in the fashion and textiles sector by supporting the SME fashion-apparel community with innovations in materials and product manufacturing, supply chain design, and consumer experiences.

Materials Circularity Research Strand

Researchers at York, alongside the Universities of Leeds, Manchester, Cranfield, Cambridge, and University College London, will use household waste, crop residues and used textiles to develop new products that can be produced in the UK.

2019 process picture

Underpinning this work is technology developed by a team at the University of York’s Department of Biology, which uses enzymes to deconstruct materials containing cellulose, such as natural and semi-synthetic fibres, crop residues, and solid waste products.

The enzymes help breakdown these materials into simple sugars, which can then be converted back into new cellulose by bacteria. This new cellulose is used to spin fibres that can be woven to produce high quality textiles to supply the UK’s fashion and clothing sector. 

2022 process graphix

Related links

To find out more visit the Textile Circularity Centre website

Professor Simon McQueen-Mason, Centre for Novel Agricultural Products, University of York [co-lead]
Dr Alexandra Lanot, Centre for Novel Agricultural Products, University of York

Principal Investigator

TCC: Professor Sharon Baurley, Materials Science Research Centre, Royal College of Art

Material Circularity strand Dr Miriam Ribul, Materials Science Research Centre, Royal College of Art 

Co-Investigators

Professor Simon McQueen-Mason, Centre for Novel Agricultural Products, University of York 
Dr Alexandra Lanot, Centre for Novel Agricultural Products, University of York
Professor Prasad Potluri, Department of Materials, University of Manchester
Professor Paulo Bartolo, School of Engineering, University of Manchester
Dr Sameer Rahatekar, Enhanced Composites & Structures Centre, Cranfield University
Professor Phil Purnell, School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds
Dr Vivek Koncherry, School of Natural Sciences, Department of Materials, University of Manchester
Dr Cian Vyas, School of Engineering, University of Manchester

 

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centres Research programme, and coordinated by the Circular Economy Hub.

Professor Sharon Baurley (RCA)

Professor Phil Purnell (University of Leeds) 

Cranfield University,

University of Cambridge,

University College London,

University of Manchester 

Related links

To find out more visit the Textile Circularity Centre website