Turning Textile Waste Into Reusables

Dr. Abigail Clarke-Sather makes strides to solve fast fashion waste by turning textile waste into reusable fibers. 

The United States produces 17 million tons of textile waste annually and not even 15% is currently being recycled. This volume of waste poses a significant challenge to textile recycling. 

The Applied Sustainable Product Innovation and Resilient Engineering (ASPIRE) Lab, led by Associate Professor and Researcher Dr. Abigail Clarke-Sather is making strides to solve this issue by turning textile waste into reusable fibers. 

Student Collaboration


In collaboration with a team of students, Dr. Clarke Sather has designed a new textile recycling machine, the Fiber Shredder, that pulls textiles apart to create fibers that can be spun into yarn. The ASPIRE lab has partnered with TrueNorth Goodwill to scale up the textile recycling machine to a commercial scale to make discarded apparel into fiber. 



The fibers will then be used to create textiles that can be used for a variety of applications. Local landscape contractors, Shoreview Natives, will be testing nonwoven textiles for their use as weed suppression mats. The ASPIRE lab welcomes additional collaborations from local manufacturers that want to incorporate recycled fibers and textiles into their products. 

Dr. Clarke-Sather explains more about the process in this video featured on WDIO.