Spintex: a circular approach to fibre creation that draws inspiration from spiders

Spintex: a circular approach to fibre creation that draws inspiration from spiders

When it comes to textiles, how do you know that the fabrics used to make your clothes are sustainable and circular?

The answer is that most of the time, we don’t. It’s no secret that fashion has a sustainability problem: it takes 10,000 litres of water to produce one kilogram of cotton, the colours we love in fast fashion turn rivers and waterways rainbow colours and fill them with chemicals, the energy required to make and transport the end product is vast, and when we’re done with our clothes? They’re likely to end up on a waste heap.

The toll on the planet and the wasted resources are significant.

Enter Spintex, a company that has turned to nature for inspiration to create new textiles.

What do they do?

Spintex has developed a unique technology for producing silk artificially by mimicking a spider’s spinning capabilities. The company spins thread from a liquid protein gel, creating textile fibre that is used to create premium-quality and sustainable silk fibres, as well as high-performance, lightweight, strong and tough fibres for use in technical applications.

In 2021, the company was awarded the Ray of Hope Prize by the Biomimicry Institute, which chose them out of 301 applications from 49 countries.

Why is this product a game-changer?

By mimicking spiders’ silk spinning, Spintex can drastically reduce water, energy and chemical consumption in textile manufacturing. They are working to reduce the environmental impact of fashion clothing production, and have a larger goal to revolutionise material fabrication across textile markets.

Here are a few facts and figures:

  • The process of creating the fibre is 1000x more energy efficient than when creating synthetic plastic fibres.
  • They use no hazardous chemicals.
  • Water is the only by-product.
  • The high-performance textiles that result from the fibres are long-lasting, and when they are no longer fit for purpose, they are fully biodegradable.

How does it work?

Why is this an example of the circular economy?

  • It starts by using as few resources as possible.
  • Its room temperature process uses 1000x less energy than plastic fibres.
  • It’s long-lasting: no throw-away solutions here!
  • A new chemical recycling process allows silks to be respun into new fibres – a world first!
  • The textiles are biodegradable, which means that if reusing, repurposing and chemical recycling is no longer an option, fibres can be disintegrated (decomposed) by the action of micro-organisms such as bacteria or fungi biological (with or without oxygen) while getting assimilated into the natural environment.

Where to find out more

Reach out to the co-founders Alexander Greenhalgh and Martin Frydrych at www.spintex.co.uk.


Tons of water used in cotton production:

How fashion ‘turns African rivers to bleach’ Premium Article:

Asian rivers are turning black. And our colorful closets are to blame:

River Trent turns orange and blue after clothing dyes released:


Posted on

October 16, 2023