Australian-based biomaterial technology company Nanollose Ltd has created the world’s first wearable garment using the company’s eco-friendly Tree-Free Rayon fiber (NullarborTM), sourced from sustainable coconut waste.
The sweater is the first of its kind and marks a breakthrough for an industry that is urgently seeking sustainable alternatives to clothing made from traditional rayon and cotton, both of which cause significant environmental issues.
Nanollose Managing Director Alfie Germano said; “We have successfully taken waste and created clothing, and we have done it following industrial protocol. Our fiber was spun into yarn and made into fabric, then manufactured into this garment using existing industrial equipment. It validates our entire process.”
150 million trees are cut down each year, then chipped and treated with hazardous chemicals to extract the raw material used to make Viscose Rayon fibers for clothing. By contrast, Nanollose’s Nullarbor fiber is made without harming a single tree.
Nanollose’s innovative biomaterial technology process begins in a facility where microbes naturally ferment liquid waste products from food industries into cellulose, a cotton-like a raw material that then is transformed into their Nullarbor fiber.
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. Once we achieve this increased scale, manufacturers will have an alternative eco-friendly option available to them.
Their process to produce cellulose requires very little land, water or energy, and a production cycle is just 18 days, compared to the eight months seen in the cotton industry.
“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. Once we achieve this increased scale, manufacturers will have an alternative eco-friendly option available to them,” said Germano.
“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. This is evident in the increasing number of enquires we have received over the past six months.” Germano also said.
This urgency for cleaner alternatives saw retail juggernaut H&M release a sustainability report in April 2017, highlighting their commitment to use 100% sustainably sourced materials by 2030. Similarly, Zara joined the movement with the launch of their new sustainable line ‘Join Life’ modeled by Sasha Pivovrova.
To ensure Nanollose can supply future partners with commercial qualities of fiber, the company is developing a supply chain within an ecosystem around waste from the Indonesian coconut industry (along with waste streams from other industries) and aims to significantly increase fiber production over the next 3-6 months.