The textile industry is no exception. For a variety of reasons and in a variety of forms, there is now research and development into environmentally-friendly textiles. That's the good news!
One textile is now attracting our attention and raising a number of questions. There is now a fabric made from cow's milk protein. The question is: can a textile made from cow's milk really be eco-friendly?
Although the fabric itself seems to have interesting ecological properties, cattle farming has a huge impact on the environment.
Milk protein textile
QMilk, a German company, has developed a textile made from milk fiber. After removing impurities from the milk, the milk protein (casein) is extracted and then blended with water and secret natural ingredients.
As well as having desirable properties (soft, silky-smooth, hypoallergenic and moisture-repellent), this fabric certainly has notable ecological advantages:
- No added chemicals.
- Low-energy, low-water consumption processing.
- Fully compostable.
- Casein produced for clothing purposes comes from recycling: stranded batches from dairies, out-of-date milk or milk from cows that have just given birth.
The impact of cattle farming
It's a question that's regularly raised. Cattle farming is one of the world's biggest polluters. This applies as much to beef cattle as to dairy herds. But why is this so worrying? We'll give you the lowdown:
1- Land deterioration
- A quarter of the land is used for cattle grazing
- A further 5% is used to grow their feed (fodder).
- That's 30% of the land used for cattle rearing, but 70% of all arable land (suitable for agriculture).
2- Greenhouse gas emissions (global warming)
- Animal farming emits as many, if not more, greenhouse gases than the transport industry.
- We're talking about 18% of gases coming from livestock farming.
- This is linked to their breathing, but also to the associated deforestation.
- The main greenhouse gas comes from the fact that cows emit methane, whose global warming potential is 23 times greater than CO2. Livestock farming is responsible for 37% of man-made methane emissions.
- Livestock farming also produces 65% of nitrous oxide, whose global warming potential is no less than 296 times higher than CO2.
3- Loss of biodiversity
- It is estimated that livestock make up almost 20% of the world's animal biomass.
- Deforestation associated with livestock farming means that wild animals have lost a third of their natural habitats.
So, is it ecological or not?
It's hard to say! On the one hand, it's a superb initiative to recycle a material that was destined for the scrap heap. On the other hand, the priority here should be to reduce milk production! That's what our valiant 3R-Vs are all about!
We believe that initiatives such as Orange Fiber, which produces textiles from post-consumer orange peel, are even better! We'll come back to this in a future article!