BBC reported Dr. Carol Lin's research on recycling fabrics made from cotton and polyester blends by fungal cultivation
Fast fashion is leading to a mountain of clothing being thrown away and has a huge impact on the environment. The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Fibre recycling technologies are vital in tackling this problem. Dr. Carol Lin, Associate Professor of SEE, led a research group to develop a biological method for recycling fabrics made from cotton and polyester blends by fungal cultivation. The fungus Aspergillus niger produces enzymes that can break down the cotton into glucose, which then can be turned into sugar syrup. The remaining pure polyester fibres will be reused to make new clothing. Dr. Lin and her team is working on implementing it on upscaling by using industrially produced cellulase enzymes. They have been working with clothing retailer H&M to examine the environmental impact of this recycling process using textile waste.