Not-so-fast fashion? Captured carbon incorporated in fabric of Zara dress range

The captured carbon is converted into monoethylene glycol (MEG), which is then converted into the low carbon polyester yarn used by Zara.

A collaboration between biotech firm LanzaTech and Spanish clothing retailer Inditex has led to the design of a capsule collection for the latter’s largest brand Zara, incorporating fabric seemingly made from waste carbon emissions.

LanzaTech’s biological process captures and converts steel mill emissions that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. It recycles the emissions into Lanzanol (ethanol) through a fermentation process. The Lanzanol is then converted into low carbon monoethylene glycol by the company India Glycols, and this is then converted into low carbon polyester yarn by Far Eastern New Century (FENC). This yarn has been used to make fabric for a Zara capsule collection of party dresses.

Beyond industrial emissions, LanzaTech converts different feedstocks including agricultural or household waste into ethanol through a fermentation process much like that of beer or wine, only using waste carbon from sugars and microbes, instead of yeast.

“We are hugely excited about this collaboration with Inditex and Zara which brings fashion made from waste carbon emissions to the market,” said Jennifer Holmgren, Chief Executive Officer of LanzaTech.

“LanzaTech has the technology that can help fashion brands and retailers limit their carbon impact,” Holmgren said. “By working with Zara, we have found a new pathway to recycle carbon emissions to make fabric.”