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Aston University offers bespoke low carbon solutions

image: Debbie Murphy runs Missfit Creations, which offers an alternative to fast fashion
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Credit: Debbie Murphy

As lawmakers at COP27 are set to discuss the fashion industry’s effects on the environment, an Aston University scientist has been helping a clothing designer measure and tackle his carbon emissions.

Debbie Murphy runs Missfit Creations which offers an alternative to fast fashion.

She keeps clothes from clogged up in landfills by restoring and reworking second-hand and vintage clothing, from gangster outfits and psychedelia from the ’70s, right up to the present day.

Dr Maria Pimenta da Costa Ocampo, a researcher at Aston University’s Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI), has been identifying the impact business is having on reducing carbon emissions.

Looking only at the recirculation of second-hand clothing, he found that Debbie’s current fashion collection has the potential to save the cotwo equivalent to three tons, equivalent in size to at least three row houses.

The support given to Tamworth-based Missfit Creations was through EBRI’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) program which helps West Midlands businesses develop low-carbon goods and services.

Debbie said: “It was eye opening to work with Aston University.

“I collect and restore a lot of old and unwanted clothing that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill, so I decided to find out what impact my business has on the environment.

“I knew my business would help combat the effects of fast fashion, but I didn’t realize there was
been able to avoid the production of so much COtwo.

“Increasing awareness of second-hand clothing over fast fashion, and increased awareness
of efficiency in clothes care will help reduce the carbon footprint of the textile industry”.

The Aston University report also suggests ways the company can cut emissions further. As a result, it will introduce a ‘payback’ scheme, offering vouchers or exchanges in exchange for previous purchases. Debbie will also change production methods by making sure all packaging is biodegradable, ironing fabric less and switching to a more sustainable energy supplier.

The fashion charter event COP27 (November 11) will explore whether the planned transformation of the sector to net zero is underway, what practical solutions are being applied and what is needed to achieve the goal.

However, Dr. Pimenta-Ocampo said: “Every action that is taken for the production and recirculation of clothing has an environmental impact.

“For example, we calculated that by recirculating vintage clothing, Missfit Creations was reducing COtwo equivalent to almost two tons just by diverting the clothes from the landfill.

“And by outsourcing its vintage clothing to cleaning services that don’t use dryers, without taking transportation emissions into account, Missfit Creations is reducing COtwo equivalent for another ton.

“There is a great need for the textile industry to control and provide accurate data and to be more transparent, especially when it comes to global supply chains.

“However, the creation of a protocol and standardization of the Life Cycle Analysis is also required, which measures the environmental impact of a product from the raw material to the final disposal. Without it, it will be impossible to produce results that can be representative.”


Notes to editors

European Regional Development Fund

This project is funded in part by the European Regional Development Fund for England as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Program 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority of the European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects that will support innovation, business, job creation and the regeneration of local communities. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a university since 1966, Aston University is a long-established university run by its three main groups of beneficiaries: students, business and the professions, and the West Midlands region and society at large. Located in Birmingham, in the heart of a vibrant city, the campus houses all of the University’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Aleks Subic is the Vice Chancellor and Executive Director.

Aston University is ranked 22nd in the Guardian University Guide, based on measures including entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality and postgraduate prospects. Aston Business School’s MBA program was ranked among the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking.

For media inquiries regarding this release, please contact Nicola Jones, Media and Communications Manager, at (+44) 7825 342091 Or email: n.jones6@aston.ac.uk

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