Australian technology company Nanollose has developed a sustainable fabric from Nullarbor, a fibre created using natural coconut by-products. This fabric is the first of its kind marking a breakthrough for an industry that is urgently seeking sustainable alternatives to rayon and cotton, both of which cause significant environmental issues.
There is an increasing demand from both consumers and clothing manufacturers, for fibres that do not rely on or damage the environment, said Nanollose CEO Alfie Germano adding that these fibres were synthesised into microbial cellulose and then converted into fibre using our unique technology.
"To create the rayon fibres that are currently used in clothing and textiles, countless trees have to be cut down, chipped and then treated with hazardous chemicals, and to make enough cotton for a single t-shirt it takes 2,700 litres of water," Germano said.
By contrast, no trees or plants are impacted in the production of Nanollose’s Nullarbor fibre and fabric, and the process requires very little water. The result is a fibre that can be used to make clothing and textiles, but with a dramatically reduced environmental footprint.
Germano added that the company is initially tapping into the established coconut industry to secure pilot-scale supply of the raw material, but when operating on a larger scale, waste streams from bigger industries will come into play. "Our 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 responsibility from their favourite brands and retailers. With an increasing consciousness around ‘how we make things’ and issues like water wastage and toxicity of pollutants increasingly on consumers’ minds, Germano said the industry is now at an inflection point.
"It’s very evident that consumers are going to reward progressive fashion brands and companies who facilitate this eco change, as they are increasingly seeking knowledge around how their clothing is made and what effects its production is having on the planet," said Germano.
"My 30-year history in the textile and apparel industry has opened my eyes to the environmental concerns that plague the industry. My vision is for Nanollose 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," he concluded. (RR)