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Polyester and elastane blend materials are notoriously difficult to recycle. Or, they were. Re:lastane has developed a technique that separates the two and transforms end-of-life garments into valuable raw materials.

Winner 2022

The innovation in a nutshell

The first mild process making elastane and polyester blend fabrics recyclable.

More in detail

Elastane and polyester make clothes stretch, feel smooth against our skin, and has become the superstar of modern sportswear. Unfortunately, it’s not just durable at the gym. It’s resilient at the recycling plant as well. Re:lastane is changing the game.

When an end-of-life garment enters the Re:lastane system, a mild chemical process that only targets the garment’s polyester fibres begin. It breaks them down into tiny building blocks — called monomers — and collects them. The process is so gentle, that the elastane thread is left intact. When the recycling process is finished, two materials are ready to be re-made into regenerated garments.

Re:lastane doesn’t just give us the possibility to recycle more of our clothes. Its process is water-free and effectively reduces the industry’s need to produce virgin elastane, which both emits carbon and has high toxicity.

“Winning the Global Change Award is very meaningful for our team as GCA is providing us a unique platform to grow. We are excited and proud of joining the GCA family. We are convinced that industrialization process of our technology will be accelerated after winning GCA and we are ready to make real global changes to our planet!”

Dr. Jack Liu

Team members: Dr. Jack Liu, Dr. Debin Mao, Wenjian Hu, Shan Wei and Gang Wang
Country: China