Page updated 13.12.2016

An idea on textile recycling convinced at Slush

A team of students from TUAS and the University of Turku convinced the jury of the Reboot Finland Pitching Awards contest, which was organized at Slush. The idea on mushrooms and leather, which utilizes waste textiles as a substrate, took them to the top three.

Text: Martti Komulainen
Photo: Mari Hartemo

Textile waste may end up as a substrate for new textiles if the idea of the students from TUAS and the University of Turku finds cooperation partners and funding. Growing mushrooms, which utilizes the textile waste substrate, and further utilizing the mushroom material in the production of leather-like material was introduced last week at Slush.
On 30 November 2016, the Reboot Finland – Hacks Pitching and Awards gathered the best results from several Finnish hackathons. A hackathon is a day-long or longer intensive brainstorming event around a given theme. The idea on recycling textiles was refined at the Textile Hackathon, which was organized in Turku this autumn.

The contest featured 15 three-minute pitches. Of these, the Turku team was among the top three.

The Reboot Finland – Hacks Pitching and Awards event at Slush was a part of the Reboot Finland challenge campaign. Reboot Finland is a campaign launched by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation and Finpro, which challenges us to think and act in a new way and solve challenges of the everyday life, business life and public services.

From mushroom to textile

Tytti Salminen, who studies Chemical and Materials Engineering at TUAS, got the idea of utilizing disposed textiles in the production of new textiles after having watched a video, in which a leather-like material was manufactured from mushrooms.
The idea was developed further together with the rest of the Textile Hackathon team this autumn. The other team members are Julius Alisaari, who studies energy and Environmental Engineering at TUAS, and Qing Cao and Mira Valkjärvi from Turku School of Economics.

“The project was an educational and rewarding experience. It taught us a lot of teamwork and how important it is to have a multidisciplinary team”, Tytti Salminen summarizes.

Looking for cooperation partners

Making it to the finals of the Slush Reboot Finland – Hacks Pitching and Awards will yield one of the team members a visit to Silicon Valley in California.
The textile recycling team is serious about the idea. What now lies ahead is more research and product development, if they are able to find cooperation partners and funding. The publicity from Slush might help with this.

“At TUAS we do a lot of similar, multidisciplinary cooperation with companies and for our part, we will be more than happy to continue tipping off and linking the team forward”, says Head of Education and Research Piia Nurmi.