Twenty-seventh Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference

Designing Greener Products: Material and Chemical Innovations in Apparel and Footwear

Symposium Organizers: Laura Hoch, Material Innovation, Patagonia

Many processes used in the manufacturing of textiles, apparel, and footwear are very chemically intensive. The ubiquity of these products combined with the large global footprint of this industry makes it a compelling area to highlight opportunities for systems thinking and designing for sustainable use. This session is designed to showcase new chemical technologies and strategies for reducing impact during the manufacture of textiles, apparel, and footwear, as well as new processes and new ways to design products with sustainability and end of life in mind.

This session will provide a forum for innovators in both industry and academia to come together and share ideas and challenges. Suggested topics to be addressed include (but are not limited to):

Greener Wet Chemical Processing:

  • New dyes or dye processing technologies that can reduce water an energy use
  • Design of more sustainable dye molecules (e.g. biobased or biodegradable dyes, dyes with reduced hazards profiles, etc.)
  • More environmentally friendly functional finishes (e.g. non-fluorinated water repellants, biobased wicking finishes, metal-free antimicrobial finishes, etc.)
  • Safer solvents and auxiliaries
  • Tools to assess chemical hazards or environmental impact


  • Mechanical and chemical recycling technologies for post-industrial and post-consumer textile, apparel, and footwear waste
  • Technologies/strategies for handling complex mixtures of materials to enable recycling
  • Material and chemical considerations to design consumer products for recycling at end of life

New Materials

  • Novel fiber types, especially bioderived, biodegradable, or recyclable at end of life
  • Strategies for addressing microfiber pollution (e.g. novel coatings, polymer additives, etc.)
  • Safer, more sustainable adhesives
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