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RALEIGH - North Carolina State University researchers have used enzymes to separate blends of cotton and polyester in a breakthrough which they hope could increase recycling and reduce textile waste.

However, the process needed more steps if the blended fabric was dyed or treated with chemicals to increase wrinkle resistance, according to a study published in the Resources, Environment and Sustainability journal.

"We can separate all of the cotton out of a cotton-polyester blend, meaning now we have clean polyester that can be recycled," said Sonja Salmon, associate professor of textile engineering, chemistry and science.

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