A sustainable sweater, believed to be the first-of-its-kind, has been created from coconut waste.
Australian biomaterial tech firm Nanollose has produced the sweater from liquid waste, using the company’s ‘tree-free’ rayon fibre. The fibre comes from sustainable coconut waste and uses little land, water or energy to produce, compared to other less eco-friendly fashion garments.
The company’s ‘Nullarbor’ fibre is created using a process where microbial bacteria naturally ferment liquid waste products from food stuffs – coconuts in this instance – into the raw material cellulose, which is similar to cotton.
The whole process takes just 18 days to create the cellulose, compared to the eight months taken to create traditional cotton fibres, Nanollose claims.
The firm believes cellulose can be used as an alternative to viscose rayon fibres that are used across the global fashion industry, but which can be associated with hazardous chemical use or deforestation.
Alfie Germano, managing director at Nanollose, said: “We didn’t have to cut down any trees to create this sweater, and we have now demonstrated that our tree-free rayon fibre can be used in the same way as other commonly-used fibres to make clothing and textiles, without the hefty environmental footprint.
“We have successfully taken waste and created clothing, and we have done it following industrial protocol. Our fibre was spun into yarn and made into fabric, then manufactured into this garment using existing industrial equipment.
“We believe that we are the only company producing tree-free rayon fibres from waste, and we have now reached a point where our technology is moving out of the laboratory and into the factory. Once we achieve this increased scale, manufacturers will have an alternative eco-friendly option available to them.”
The firm is now focused on developing a supply chain using waste from the Indonesian coconut industry, alongside waste streams from other sectors, in the hope of scaling up its fibre production over the next three to six months.
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