September 4, 2020 @ 12:27 by Steven Hugill
A project aimed at creating the world’s first sustainable sportswear range has received £25,000 funding to boost its progress.
A scheme led by Middlesbrough-based Presca has been backed by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority’s Collaborative Networks Programme.
Bosses say the cash will aid the firm’s growth as it continues work to launch a zero-waste sports clothing range.
Having already released a t-shirt made entirely from recycled plastic bottles, the business is working with Wilton centre-based Poseidon Plastics and Teesside University research experts to extend its market potential.
Testing technology and methods needed to recycle polyester fabric garments back into their constituent elements, bosses say their efforts mean the manufacturing process can start again without the need for new materials, thereby taking a significant step towards creating a circular economy in the sportswear industry.
Rob Webbon, Presca chief executive, said: “Sustainability is the foundation Presca has been built on.
“Creating a circular approach for our full range has always been our ultimate ambition and is essential to our sustainability journey.
“This funding is a significant step towards making that ambition a reality.”
Martin Atkins, Poseidon Plastics’ chief executive, added: “This collaboration highlights the important contribution Teesside-based companies, local government and research institutions can make in the development of sustainable solutions to the environmental challenges which we all face.”
Praising the work of Presca and Poseidon Plastics, Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen – who recently met their respective bosses – said their partnership embodies the innovation and positivity that exists across the region.
He said: “We need to look to the future and back our businesses more than ever by giving them the funding they need to draw on expertise located right here and deliver on ground-breaking projects.
“Presca’s plans fit in really well with our clean energy ambitions.
“A lot of the time, we talk about low carbon and sustainability in terms of massive industrial schemes that may not mean much to the man on the street.
“But smaller-scale, more relatable, projects like this have the potential to revolutionise industries too.
“It was great to meet the teams and learn how this project will help lead the way in zero-waste clothes production.”
The £1.4 million Collaborative Networks Programme aims to help businesses work together to bring new products and processes to market to improve productivity, create employment, reduce carbon and grow the economy.
Other projects to be awarded funding include a scheme to turn physiotherapy exercises for people with breathing difficulties into 3D games.