For the last couple of years, it seems like there is always something new and exciting happening in the material space. Right now innovators are finding different ways to transform and make use of food byproducts, like Orange Fiber. Last week we had the pleasure of meeting co-founder Enrica Arena at Fashion for Good HQ in Amsterdam. She is one of the women behind the Italian startup which manufactures natural fabrics from citrus by-products by extracting the cellulose from the fibres that are discarded from the industrial pressing and processing of oranges. The startup is not alone, there are companies like Circular Systems who are turning crops like banana byproducts, pineapple leaves, sugarcane bark, and flax and hemp stalk into natural fabrics. By redefining sustainable materials, the company is catching the attention of big brands like H&M and Levi’s who are interested in incorporating sustainable fibres into their clothes.
Crop waste is creating a huge problem which Circular Systems is trying to solve by introducing waste-to-fibre platforms- Texloop, Agraloop, and the revolutionary new Orbital Composite Yarn technology. Seeking sustainable alternatives, the company is offering break-through solutions for the most efficient management of textile/apparel and agricultural waste streams, by retaining the maximum amount of embedded energy in waste inputs so they can create the highest-value outputs.
Global Change winner of 2018, Circular System has been committed to low-impact production strategies for more than 20-years. Transforming food-crop waste into valuable natural fibre products, they are striving to achieve zero-waste so they can achieve regenerative impacts for the benefit of nature, society, and economics. They are achieving this by taking a simple and efficient approach to deconstruction, coupled with the most advanced new-materials strategies.
Change needs to take place because of the fact that globally people eat around 100 billion bananas every year which in turn creates around 270 million tons of rotting waste that releases methane into the atmosphere and contributes to global warming. More recently the company hit the headlines when Isaac Nichelson, a three-decade veteran of the sustainable fashion industry, came up with a progressive concept of taking banana by-products and spinning them into a natural fibre that can be woven into garments.
Concentrating on collaborations, Circular Systems is accelerating solution-oriented technologies in the hope of igniting a circular/regenerative economy. Already engaging with fashion companies, NGO’s and local governments interested in using their fibre and yarns, Nichelson told Fast Company,“The fashion industry is now our new best friends.” Adding, “All of our industries need to be retrofitted for real sustainability and become regenerative by nature, and it will be better for business.”