The staff of a restaurant in Stockhold is wearing CO2 capturing aprons. As part of the Planet First program initiated by H&M Foundation together with HKRITA (The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel), the Carbon Looper project has come up with a method in which cotton textiles can be treated with an amine-containing solution that makes the surface of the fabric capture carbon dioxide from the surrounding air (a process known as adsorption).

The carbon dioxide can then be released from the fabric by being heated to 30-40°C, in a greenhouse for example, where it is taken up by the plants during photosynthesis, thereby being looped back into the natural carbon cycle.

The amount of CO2 that is absorbed by a standard-sized garment per day, is approximately equivalent to 1/3 of the amount that a tree absorbs per day. And after only three ‘loop-cycles’, the garment has effectively climate-neutralized itself – and instead starts to have a climate positive effect.

According to a press release by H&M Foundation, the current research phase involves live testing in collaboration with Fotografiska Stockholm, where the restaurant staff will wear Carbon Loopers in the form of aprons. The restaurant’s famous hydroponic garden in the basement serves as an excellent CO2 release facility in this part of the research which aims to further develop the material.

”Carbon Looper is potentially the start of a paradigm shift in how we think about textiles and the fashion industry”, say H&M officials.