When a piece of clothing wears out or goes out of fashion, it often gets tossed in the trash; clothes made up 9 percent of all municipal solid waste produced in the U.S. in 2014, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

And the impact of what we wear goes well beyond clogged landfills. The European Commission (pdf) has also linked modern clothing industry practices—often described as “fast fashion,” due to the speed and volume at which garments are produced and marketed—to high energy and water use, significant greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution.

Now a small but growing group of innovators is turning to the genius of nature in an attempt to put wastefulness and pollution in the apparel industry out of fashion, right at the source: They are using live organisms to grow pieces of biodegradable textiles, creating environmentally friendly materials in the laboratory—and are even producing some near-complete items without the need for factory assembly. Full Article