Biomaterial technology company Nanollose has created what it believes is the world’s first sweater made from sustainable coconut waste.
According to the Australian company, the new sweater is an industry breakthrough, as more and more manufacturers and designers are looking for more sustainable, ethical materials.
Cotton – commonly used across the fashion industry – comes with major environmental problems and an increasing number of clothing companies are waking up to the ethical dilemmas of using animal-based materials, such as fur and leather. But the new coconut fiber, named Nullarbor, provides an alternative.
It also saves trees from being cut down and treated with hazardous substances to make viscose rayon fibers. According to Nanollose, 150 million trees are cut down each year for the material, but with Nullarbor, no trees are necessary.
Nanollose’s managing director Alfie Germano explained in a statement, “We didn’t have to cut down any trees to create this sweater, and we have now demonstrated that our tree-free rayon fiber can be used in the same way as other commonly-used fibers to make clothing and textiles, without the hefty environmental footprint.”
As well as needing no trees, the 18-day process to make Nullarbor requires the use of little land, water, and energy. Microbial bacteria naturally ferments liquid food waste into cellulose, which is then transformed into Nullarbor.
“We believe that we are the only company producing tree-free rayon fibers from waste, and we have now reached a point where our technology is moving out of the laboratory and into the factory,” said Germano. “Once we achieve this increased scale, manufacturers will have an alternative eco-friendly option available to them.”
In the next three to six months, Nanollose intends to significantly increase the production of Nullarbor, ensuring it can cater to the demand from brands and companies who are looking to purchase commercial quantities.
“Progressive brands and companies are starting to facilitate this new shift by involving themselves deeper in the supply chain and searching for feasible, sustainable long-term alternatives,” explained Germano. “This is evident in the increasing number of enquiries we have received over the past six months.”
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