chapter  78
Circular economy and biological materials—innovative narratives for the development of sustainable textile products
WithG.S. Forman, C. Carvalho
Pages 6

One of the greatest challenges of this century is the endeavour to guarantee commercial profit without placing excessive demand on natural resources and without disrupting Earth and all ecosystems. Climate change, resources scarcity, sustainable energy, waste and the design of resilient products are critical issues. The textile industry is one of the most pollutant sectors in the world; fashion fast paced systems plus the superfluity of mass production and high volume of products at low prices has great significances both at the social and environmental levels. The issues within the industry are usually related to the little effective planning and designing of products and the general crisis in disposing textile waste. From a Circular Economy perspective, the understanding of materials flows is paramount, long-term view being key whilst analysing products and their attached values. Deeper knowledge on both technical and biological materials offer great opportunities for intelligent product designing, and the possibilities of innovative materials and technologies are endless. Many varied studies concluded the application of scientific and technical advances in life science to develop commercial products is route to sustainable design. So, how can biological systems generate new narratives in designing textiles? The intensification of biotechnologies as the foundation of design projects expresses approaches often involving living organisms at all scales—animals, plants, microorganisms, cells—that can be used to build, influence and improve the objects around us. Exploring biology as a vehicle to design not only offers a new vision for the development of products but also feeds the interest in learning the peculiar aesthetic values of biological resources.