An Australian company is synthesising a new eco-fibre out of biomass waste.
The textile industry uses a tremendous amount of resources. For example, it takes 2,700 litres of water to make enough cotton for a single t-shirt. That’s about the same amount of water that one person drinks in two and a half years. This is one reason why clothing made from recycled and alternative materials has become more popular in recent years. At Springwise, we have covered innovations that include shoes made from recycled gum and sneakers made from recycled bottles and fungus. Now Australian company Nanollose is developing a new green option with a system that uses waste biomass from the coconut processing industry, to create a plant-free fibre. The new fibre has a much smaller environmental footprint than commonly-used textiles like cotton.
Nanollose calls its new fibre Nullarbor. It is a synthetic form of rayon. It is produced using microbes to convert the biomass waste into cellulose. For a source of fibre during the pilot phase, the company uses coconut by-products from Indonesia. Once production is in full-swing, Nanollose plans to use waste from other industries. The use of waste products will ultimately allow the manufacture of clothing without using scarce resources. According to Nanollose CEO Alfie Germano, the process “has the potential to convert a number of biomass waste products from the beer, wine and liquid food industries into fibres using very little land, water or energy in the process.”
Consumers are demanding more environmental sustainability from their favourite brands. Nanollose feels the time is right to draw attention to improving the sustainability of clothing manufacture. The company also argues that consumers will reward fashion brands who champion eco-change. According to Germano, Nanollose hopes to be “at the forefront of offering fashion and textile groups a viable alternative, and decreasing the industry’s reliance on environmentally burdensome raw materials.” Will fibres made from biomass waste be a common feature in luxury clothing brands?