Earlier this year, a satellite photo of a mountain of discarded clothes in Chile's Atacama Desert went viral.
Clearly visible from space, it once again raised questions about the amount of waste the fashion industry is creating, and what we can do about it.
While natural fibers such as cotton and wool will decompose, most manmade fibers, such as polyester and nylon, are not currently biodegradable.
They will instead remain in landfills, or where they have been dumped, for decades or even hundreds of years.
However, a US-based scientific organization is continuing work to find a natural way of getting waste polyester and nylon to quickly decompose.
"One of the approaches that we are looking at is how you break down these complicated materials, and in a way that actually gets rid of the toxic effects of dyes and coating," says Beth Rattner, the executive director of the Montana-based Biomimicry Institute. "Using biological materials, whether that be enzymes or bacteria, to create new materials." She adds that the aim is to "take the existing mountains of clothing waste and turn them into something that's biocompatible".
The Biomimicry Institute's project - dubbed Design for Decomposition - will choose tech partners later this year, and report back in 2024.
Ms. Rattner says that the new processes it is exploring can not only help break down existing fabrics in more planet-friendly ways but could also in the future form the basis of new innovative materials. "Instead of dyes you could use the structure of the fiber itself, the same for water repellency, rather than coating it, or to make wrinkle-free fabrics."