Biodegradable clothes could be as simple as making yarn tasty to microbes

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In North Carolina, spun yarn maker Parkdale Inc. and Intrinsic Textiles Group have developed a technology to produce clothing that biodegrades faster. Dubbed CiCLO, the breakthrough was achieved by putting “food” into natural fiber that makes it more attractive to microbes.

“If you think about synthetic fibers, they have a tendency to shed in washing and drying, and a lot of them go into the water stream and into the ocean,” Parkdale Mills CEO Andy Warlick tells the Gaston Gazette. “You also have apparel that sits in a landfill.  With CiCLO polymer, we’ve got a biodegradable fiber that we can then put into apparel, and when it goes into a landfill, instead of sitting there for 100 years, in a little over three years it’s gone and it does the same thing in seawater.”

Parkdale’s existing products  include yarn and non-woven cotton for swabs and pads. It operates almost 30 facilities in North America. CiCLO clothing could be available as soon as next year.