Founders: Stacy Flynn (CEO), Christo Stanev
Funding: $30 million
Valuation: $150 million
Key technologies: N/A
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 0
The clothing industry uses massive amounts of resources and creates a mountain of waste every year. It uses 93 billion cubic meters of water and generates an estimated 10% of total global emissions — more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
And after all that, much of the merchandise gets tossed soon after. The fashion industry creates an estimated 92 million metric tons of waste every year, with the vast majority of clothing waste incinerated or ending up in landfills.
Re-using some of the material that we already have will help lessen the waste and reduce the resources needed to create them in the first place. Startup Evrnu says its technologies can get us closer to making the circular economy a reality.
Evrnu co-founder Stacy Flynn was moved to do something when she saw the waste firsthand on manufacturing sourcing trips to China. “I saw how we’re cutting corners on the environment and how people are living as a result of those corners being cut,” Flynn told Entrepreneur, “and just decided that this cannot be how the story ends. So I wanted to spend the rest of my career finding solutions that were able to turn this issue around.”
Flynn went to graduate school to earn an MBA in sustainable systems. She used her retirement fund to create prototypes and eventually developed a textile recycling platform, NuCycl, that can transform discarded clothing into new fiber. Evrnu says its fiber can outperform 90% of fibers, including cotton, nylon, and polyester. Plus, it can be recycled up to five times without losing quality.
Evrnu’s first big break was a partnership with Levi’s to create the company’s classic 511 jeans using post-consumer cotton waste in 2016. Since then, it has launched pilots with Stella McCartney and Adidas. Late last year, the company announced a capsule collection with clothing giant Zara, using its recycled waste material. It’s also worked with Pangaia to create a denim jacket made entirely from recycled cotton.
Textile recycling is relatively new, but Evrnu isn’t alone in tackling the challenge. There’s also Spinnova, Renewcell, Circ, SuperCircle and For Days. But with less than 1% of used clothing currently being recycled, there’s plenty of material to go around.
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