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Walmart Foundation awards Cornell University a nearly $150K manufacturing grant

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

ITHACA, N.Y. — Cornell University will use a grant of nearly $150,000 for its no-waste apparel design and production process that utilizes post-consumer textile waste (PCTW).

The Walmart Foundation and the U.S. Conference of Mayors announced the grant in a news release that Walmart (WMT: NYSE) issued on Monday.

The latest group of grants from the Walmart Foundation’s U.S. manufacturing-innovation fund focuses on “innovations” in textile-manufacturing processes, the company said.

As part of this round of grants, the Walmart Foundation awarded Cornell a grant worth $148,000 for its proposal.

The strategy will “significantly” reduce energy and water needs associated with new textile production. It’ll also create a “closed loop” supply chain that will support new product manufacture, divert textile waste, and enable an additional stream of revenue from reclaimed apparel, according to the release.

The project aims to reduce the consumption of natural resources to create “virgin textiles,” Tasha Lewis, grant co-recipient who works in Cornell’s department of fiber science & apparel design, said in the Walmart release.

“And we’re also trying to divert used and unwanted clothing away from landfills … all the while putting textiles to better use as a raw material. A lot of water is consumed during the textile dyeing and finishing processes, so if we find new ways to use discarded textiles, that’s water and landfill use we save,” said Lewis.

Lewis will use the grant with her colleague, Anil Netravali.

Cornell University is one of five universities that will collectively use $2.84 million in grants from the fund.

Other recipients include Clemson University, Oregon State University, University of Texas, and North Carolina State University.

The funding will support research proposals that strive to create new manufacturing technologies and reduce the cost of producing goods in the U.S.

The projects’ goal is to create jobs that support the nation’s “growing manufacturing base,” Walmart said.

Walmart formed the fund to provide a total of $10 million in grants over the course of five years, focusing specifically on advancing the production or assembly of consumer products in the U.S., the company said.

This is the second round of grants that Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have awarded. The last round occurred in 2014.

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com

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