Who We Are
The Textile and Apparel Recycling Campaign (TARC) is a research project funded by the UT GreenFund with an aim at responding to the challenge of fashion sustainability through establishment of cotton recycling systems for enhancing recyclability of cellulose fiber and reducing municipal solid wastes. General goal of this research is to initiate a student-led campaign for textile and apparel recycling on campus via (1) upgrading the patent pending technology for converting recycled cotton and lignocellulose biomass into functional new rayon fiber and fabrics; (2) showcasing new design and make-up of apparel products using the new rayon from recycled cotton; and (3) conducting a marketing study on potential commercial network for cotton fabric recycling.
What We’re Fundraising For
Being central to the way we represent ourselves on a daily basis, fashion forms a trillion-dollar global industry with enormous impacts on economy, equity, and ecology. Yet, the present eco-systems for manufacture, distribution, and uses of textile and apparel products remain wasteful and less sustainable. It is not surprising that fashion sustainability has become today’s media coverage. People are rethinking and asking how we could improve the circularity of textiles and apparels currently not recycled.
Our Renewable Fiber and Composite Laboratory is addressing this challenge by developing new technology for producing functional rayon fiber from lignocellulose biomass including recycled cotton. The new technology features an environmentally friendly solvent system, low energy consumption, and safe operation. With a UT GreenFund support, we have launched a textile and apparel recycling campaign (TARC) on campus. We are now moving forward the research to next step: upgrading current fiber spinning equipment and producing new rayon fiber and fabric from recycled cotton. Our apparel design students will use the new rayon fabric from recycled cotton for making up their new garments.
We need more supports to maintain the momentum of this vital research. To assure our success in this research campaign, we need various funds to support equipment installation and operation, materials and supplies, student worker pay, and student travels for research dissemination.
Your gifts and supports are so valuable and important to this research, because TARC is contributing to the enhancement of going-green vision for the UT Austin community. TARC is also helping students learn how to run a voluntary textile/apparel recycling project through a business-model practice including collection and sorting method, identification of reuse clients and recycling manufacturers, and textile recycling entrepreneurships. Here are just a couple of stories about our successful students.
Becky Phung, graduated from TXA in 2019, has worked as an undergraduate researcher for the GreenFund project, Establishment of Cotton Recycling Systems for Solid Waste Reduction and Fashion Sustainability Enhancement. She has helped collect about 90 kg recycled textiles/apparels in five student dorms and one office building on campus. She has presented the GreenFund research project in various occasions including the 7th Annual Texas Regional Alliance for Campus sustainability Summit (TRACS), Academy of Undergraduate Researchers Across Texas (Academy of Undergraduate Researchers Across Texas), and UT Fashion Show. Becky has also teamed with three other students and submitted an entry for the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) sustainability challenge competition. Their proposal was on the semifinal list. Becky is now Research Analyst of Circular Ecology Program in the City of Austin.
Taylor Stiff, Kristal Javieno, and Heejung An, all TXA students, enrolled in the course Advanced Textiles in Spring 2019. They have been so enthusiastic in a sustainable economy and society, and teamed up to enter the 2019 Industry Sustainability Challenge sponsored by RILA. Their proposal entitled The Code Bag that addresses the challenge topic Point of Sale Product Transportation won the 1st Place of the competition, after a final panel review by judges from Gap, Ikea, Meijer, Petco, REI, and Target.