WSU Wins Grant for Recycled Textile Innovation

Washington State University has won a $365,000 grant for research on recycling cotton waste products into high quality regenerated fibers for consumer goods.

“This project is at the heart of WSU’s commitment, as a land-grant university, to expand sustainable systems,” said James Moyer, associate dean for research in WSU’s College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences. “The development of more sustainable, recycling protocols for cotton will not only reduce waste but also result in more environmentally friendly systems for recycling the fiber.”

The Walmart Foundation and U.S. Conference of Mayors recently announced winners of the U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund grants, which this year focused on innovations in textile manufacturing processes.

“Numerous trees are being cut to process into wood pulp for making regenerated cellulose fibers, such as rayon and lyocell,” said Hang Liu (pictured above), assistant professor in WSU’s Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles. “But we are throwing away used cotton products, which are a better cellulose resource.”

WSU will develop an environmentally friendly and economically viable solvent system for cotton waste dissolution and fiber spinning. Working on the grant with Liu are Ting Chi, AMDT professor, and Jinwen Zhang, professor in WSU’s School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.

Fund Created to Increase U.S. Jobs

WSU is one of six universities receiving nearly $3 million in grants to create new manufacturing technologies and reduce the cost of producing goods in the U.S. The goal is to create jobs that support America’s growing manufacturing base.

The fund was formed in 2014 to provide $10 million in grants to advance the production or assembly of consumer products in the U.S. This is the final round of grants awarded by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation for the fund.

“Advancing the production or assembly of consumer products in the U.S. is the number one goal of the innovation fund,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “As these projects come to fruition over the next few years, we hope the research not only enables cost-effective solutions for manufacturers, but also improves the sustainability of the U.S. textile industry.”

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In January 2013, Walmart announced a commitment to buy an additional $250 billion in products that support U.S. jobs by 2023. Learn more about Walmart at Learn more about Walmart’s philanthropy at

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