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Circular Systems Isaac Nichelson on Eco-Fashion Using Food Waste

Sustainable fashion is one of the biggest challenges of our time. It requires new technologies, innovations, and infrastructure developments. One of them is using food waste to create eco-friendly fibers for textiles.

Isaac Nichelson is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Circular Systems. His company works on material science, particularly the development of innovative circular and regenerative technologies.

Circular Systems is developing a way to transform waste into valuable fibers, yarn, and textile fabrics for the fashion industry. This is a welcomed initiative that will benefit the global apparel and footwear industry.


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Chatting with Waste360 on the Nothing Wasted podcast, Isaac Nichelson reveals that zero waste, which has been part of the sustainability movement for a while, isn't enough to guarantee a sustainable future.

Reducing the production of textile waste that will end up in landfills is helping the environment tremendously. But have to do even more to decrease the enormous amount of pollution and waste that already exists.

"Zero impact is just a milestone en route to beneficial impact, which is really what we need to be achieving as a species in our habitat. Homeostasis zero might be fine if we hadn’t caused so much damage already, but we’re at a point where we have to fix things for quite a while before zero impact is enough."

 - Isaac Nichelson, Circular Systems co-founder, and Chief Executive Officer, as told to Waste360

Waste is piling up in landfills at an alarming rate. Fast fashion with overproduction and overconsumption of cheap disposable clothing is responsible for tons of textile waste, land, air, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.

It made the global textile and apparel industry the second-largest polluter globally. Synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon, or acrylic are very harmful sources of plastic microfibers, toxic gases, and chemicals, that destroy ecosystems, endanger animal lives, and human health.

Sustainable fashion is now a necessity. New innovative materials with a regenerative impact are required to transform the textile industry and protect the planet, people, and animals.

When asked about Circular Systems' new technologies, Isaac Nichelson describes three technology platforms designed to work together:

  • Agraloop, a closed-loop bio-refinery designed to convert food-crop waste into high-value textile and other industrial products while creating a regenerative impact in that same community where it operates,
  • Texloop, breaking pre- and post-consumer textile waste down to fiber and building them back up again into new yarns, fabrics, and useful products,
  • Orbital Hybrid Yarns, a new spinning technology that turns shorter or lower-quality recycled fibers into higher-quality and higher-performing materials, meeting or exceeding the performance of the most technical virgin materials.


Circular Systems is a social purpose corporation (SPC). It considers social or environmental issues in decision making, similar to Benefit Corporations (B Corp).

The company is currently working with large players in the fashion industry such as Converse, H&M, Patagonia, and Levi’s, committing to social and environmental change.

Listen to Isaac Nichelson's interview on Episode 66: Sustainable Fashion Using Food Waste of the Nothing Wasted podcast.

About the Author: Alex Assoune

Alex Assoune Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.


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