Marginal textiles: banana, orange, soy and milk residues!

Impact écolo Textiles: info et entretien


ecological clothing fabrics

Because we still haven't found the "perfect" formula for low-impact textiles, a number of initiatives have been launched over the years, and a great deal of research is being carried out on the subject.

For the moment, most of the natural textiles we use come directly from crops
(ex:  bamboo, cotton, linen...) or from vegetable pulp, which can have a significant negative impact on forests.

Clothes from banana trees!

clothes from banana trees

Bananas (sweetened or in plantain form) are a staple food in many cultures. It is an important natural fiber found in abundance in India, Sri Lanka, some African countries and Latin America. It is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. K. Murugan, an Indian mechanical engineer, observed that once the fruit had been harvested, the banana trees were cut down and left to rot on the spot. For him, this was not the best way to treat them, and he saw the plants as a natural resource to be exploited. So he innovated by building a machine to transform the raw material from banana trees into silk.

In addition to being eco-responsible, banana silk has many qualities. It's lightweight, biodegradable, and the resulting fabric is silky, flexible and moisture-wicking. The resulting silky textile is equivalent to worm silk in sheen and strength.

The sensitive point about banana silk lies not only in the higher degree of difficulty involved in extracting the fibers compared to other natural fibers. Banana is a plant at risk from a number of diseases. It has even been reported that the most widely consumed species of banana may be threatened with extinction by a fungal disease (Panama disease or fusariosis).

Textiles from citrus residues

textiles from citrus residues

Here's a very original idea that we like for its eco-responsible and global nature. Making yarn and textiles from citrus peel!
Imagine the amount of waste generated worldwide by the consumption of citrus juice! In Italy alone, it is estimated that waste from this agri-food industry amounts to 700,000 tonnes a year. The equivalent of 3,500,000 whole oranges! The equivalent of 140,000 elephants!

The search for ways to recycle waste in this sector is therefore vital and brilliant! This is the raison d'être of the Italian Orange Fiber project. It's not surprising that it should emerge from this country.

The fabrics made from orange peel are formed from a silky yarn that can be mixed with other materials. When used in its purest form, 100% citrus textile has a silky, light feel. The fabric can be opaque or glossy, as desired.

 Soy textiles

soy textiles

Soy is also considered a staple food, particularly in Asian countries, and soy-based textiles are often referred to as vegetable cashmere. Unlike banana and orange peel textiles, soy fabric comes from the edible soy bean. Soybeans contain natural fibers within each bean. When these fibers are removed from the bean, they are too coarse to be spun and must be processed.

Although textiles are derived from soybeans, most of them come from food processing residues, either from the extraction of the bean's oil or from tofu manufacturing. What's more, any fibers that aren't of sufficient quality to be used in fabric can be fed to livestock. Finally, it's also a renewable and biodegradable resource (so much so that clothes made from soy textiles could be composted!).

Soy textiles are soft, easy to care for and absorb dyes quickly, so less is needed.

Cow's milk textiles

cow's milk textiles

Yes, there is a textile made from cow's milk! German company QMilk has developed a technique by taking fermented milk, drying it to a protein powder, mixing it with water and other natural ingredients, extruding the whole to release a fluffy substance and finally spinning it. The company reportedly uses only expired milk and only 2 liters of water to create one kilo of fabric.

The soft fabric that emerges absorbs moisture and regulates temperature. It is also antibacterial, and dermatological tests show that it is excellent for the skin.

Several questions can be asked on this subject. The impact of cattle grazing on the environment has been amply demonstrated. Shouldn't we be addressing the issue of milk losses? By reducing the quantities produced and limiting losses, it seems to us that this would be much more environmentally responsible.

Handcrafted textiles

There are also a multitude of other textiles that are quite original and still handcrafted. We're talking here about textiles made from coffee, shellfish, fish scales, red wine deposits, red wine fermentation, corn... Most of these techniques have yet to be developed, and some need to be questioned. Do we want to develop new techniques that will further monopolize our farmland? However, all those that enable us to valorize residues give us hope!

We enthusiastically welcome all new ideas for reducing the environmental impact of clothing, and will be following innovations in this field with optimism and curiosity!

Ecologically yours,

eco loco

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