Evrnu™ SPC - GRAND PRIZE

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Evrnu™ SPC - GRAND PRIZE: Recycling Garment Waste to Create Renewable Fiber

Seattle, United StatesUnited States
Year Founded:
2014
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$1 million - $5 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Evrnu fiber transforms cotton garment waste into textile fiber for the creation of premium garments. Our technology breaks waste down to the molecular level and rebuilds it in to new, useful and beautiful new products. We will guarantee that our fiber can be infinitely reused or safely composted.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

Evrnu creates products using minimal virgin resources and generates no waste, bringing us one step closer to a waste-free future.
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The global textile and apparel industry relies on a vulnerable, resource intensive supply chain. It is one of the world’s largest contributors of toxic environmental waste affecting air, water and soil resources. The current method of production and disposition of textiles, creates 12 million tons of garment waste in the United States each year. All garments end up in landfills or are incinerated, causing environmental devastation.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Evrnu’s technology is built on two core processes for recycling post-consumer cotton. The first Evrnu process strips dyes and other contaminants, which have historically been a primary hurdle to cotton recycling. The second process pulps the cotton, breaking it down to its constituent fiber molecules. These fibers are then recombined and extruded as a new pristine fiber, which can be engineered to custom specifications for end use applications in denim, dress, casual and athletic apparel. With global garment consumption projected to double by the year 2025 Evrnu offers brands and ultimately consumers a long term solution to resource scarcity; it's smart, responsible and works within the business model of the global apparel industry.

Awards

2015 Finalist Postcode Lottery Green Challenge, 2015 Seattle Lion’s Den Best in Show, 2014 SVP Audience Choice Award, 2014 Grand Prize winner SVP Fast Pitch, 2014 Schmidt-MacArthur Fellowship Wildcard Candidate, and more
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Evrnu’s approach is differentiated by using a chemistry tolerant to trace contaminants, and coupling it with a purification process. This allows Evrnu use postconsumer garment waste that is currently sent to landfill. Evrnu has demonstrated fiber with good strength and dyeing characteristics, and has a management team with strong textile industry experience. We are working with a major US brand to create the first post consumer waste regenerated garment; they have a goal of creating a product assortment with 30% recycled or reclaimed content by the year 2030 and we hope to have a commercial test to consumers by 2017. We see a 70% reduction in negative environmental impact compared to conventional cotton.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Evrnu is at pre-production stage, currently producing its first prototype fiber, fabric & garment in partnership with a major US brand. Every year, about 35 million tons of cotton is produced worldwide – roughly 90% of it in water-stressed nations. Much of the cotton becomes waste, and Evrnu has the potential to regenerate it. Evrnu turns a waste stream into a resource manufacturing business. It can create jobs where the waste is generated, and create new fiber with very little water and impact – and with zero farmland. Our preliminary data suggests that Evrnu has at least 70% less environmental impact than conventional cotton. If brands dedicate a portion of their business to a regenerative material they will not only future proof supply but also reduce negative environmental impact to humans and all life on Earth. Protecting air, water and soil which are basic human rights.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Evrnu’s main spread strategies are: 1. Creating partnerships with Apparel Brands & Retailers to drive early demand; we have 1 signed and are in negotiations with 3 other major brand/retail partners. 2. Rapidly scaling production facilities; we have a full engineering team in place to vet our assumptions for bulk trials. 3. Possibly using a scaling partner, such as a major fiber producer; we are in early stage conversations with potential licensing partners. 4. Possibly selling the technology to a scaling partner thus widely disseminating it; Evrnu has been designed to prove and release.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Revenue is the result of brand demand. Evrnu pricing is competitive with organic cotton and initial trials indicate a 30% reduction in cost of dyeing plus a reduction in associated negative impact. Customers will make multi-year commitments for product in exchange for custom fiber that will be exclusive to their product line for a two year period. We will be profitable in the third year.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Three other companies are exploring cotton regeneration. In Sweden, “Re:Newcell” has assembled a team with background the paper industry. In the UK, the firm “Worn Again” has expertise rooted in fashion activism. In Finland, “VTT” is exploring a method of cotton dissolution. Evrnu’s approach is differentiated by A) using a chemistry tolerant to trace contaminants, and B) coupling it with a purification process. As far as we know, Evrnu is the only solution to break down post consumer garment waste which is the most challenging and gives us the ability to break down all cotton waste.
Team

Founding Story

Stacy has been deeply immersed in every part of the textile industry; from specialty brand development to managing fabric and garment development for multi-national corporations. In 2010, while on an extended stay in China, she toured several factories “behind the curtain” without corporate credentials and saw firsthand the devastating effects of the industry on people and the environment. Stacy couldn’t resist the urge to tackle what she calls “the greatest design challenge of the century”. Her mission in launching Evrnu is to invent new ways of doing business to generate wide sweeping systemic change and uncover solutions to the consumption of diminishing, finite natural resources.

Team

Stacy Flynn, CEO & Co-Founder Stacy is a textile and apparel specialist with a BS in Textile Development and Marketing and an MBA in Sustainable Systems. She is a materials reuse specialist with 20 years of textile development and management experience. Christopher Stanev, Chief Scientific Officer & Co-Founder Christopher is a textile technical specialist with an MS in Textile Engineering and an MBA in International Business. He has worked with major brands and retailers worldwide for more than 25 years. Kaye Counts, Chief Operating Officer Kaye has significant experience at the COO & CEO level and has worked for a wide range of businesses scaling production operations. Debra Griffith, Chief Financial Officer CFO for public & private companies with 20 years of experience, including manufacturing and early-stage growth companies. Andrew Mattox, Vice President, Sustainable Development With a background in geology, natural resources and risk management, Mattox holds an MBA in Sustainable Systems and is certified in sustainable energy solutions.
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]

Raw Materials, Manufacturing.

Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]

Consumer, Corporate Staff, Researcher, Technologist.

Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]

Brands, Consumers, Corporations, Designers, Researchers, Retailers - Department Store, Retailers - Specialty Store, Retailers - Mass-merchandise Chain, Retailers - Discount Chain, Sourcing Manager / Supply Chain Manager, Technologists, Women, Youth.

● Intervention Focus: What are you trying to achieve / influence? [check all that apply]

Accountability, Conscious Consumerism, Environmentally Sustainable Practices, Recycling or Circular Economy, Physical Working Conditions, Transparency.

Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.

Capacity Building, Data, Technology.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

Hidden from View: Conditions in Forests, Farms, and Factories are Only Visible to a Select Few, Consumers Aren't Motivated to Care: Neither Compelling Reasons Nor Easy Means to Change Consumption Habits, Sustainability is Not Yet in the DNA: Fast Fashion’s Current Model Disincentivizes Value-Driven Economies.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Unite More than Voice: Tap into Community Capital and Collective Resources, Activate Local Know-how for Driving Solutions: Build Opportunities for Workers to Become Leaders, Disrupt Business as Usual: Target Key Players Who Can Influence the Bottom Line, Transform the Chain into a Web: Link Unlikely Sectors that Open New Pathways to Sustainability.

Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?

yes

If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?

● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?
Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?

Stacy presents Evrnu to students of all ages and advocates for recycling innovation.

● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?

We have collaborated with waste collection organizations, brands/retailers and textile specialists.