Recycling Food Waste into Clothing
How awesome would it be if we could recycle our food waste into clothing? We can.
Today only 35% of the fibers used in clothing are derived from natural materials. In 1960 it was 97%. Meanwhile, 270 million tons of banana waste are left to rot every year, adding to methane pollution and crop disease. Burning these crops is not a solution as it contributes to annual air pollution deaths.
Circular Systems S.P.C (Social Purpose Corporation) founder, sustainable fashion veteran, Isaac Nichelson, wants to enable food crops to become our primary fibers again. His company utilizes a new technology it developed, Agraloop Bio-Refinery, to turn pineapple leaves, sugarcane bark and banana, hemp, and flax stalks, into a textile grade fiber. Just these five crops can produce 250 million tons of fiber every year—exceeding global demand by 2.5 times.
According to Nichelson:
Agraloop is a regenerative system that uses plant-based chemistry and plant-based energy to upgrade the fibres whilst enriching the local communities and creating a new economic system.
Not only are the resources used to produce our massive consumer demand for new fashion finite, most clothing items wind up in landfills at the end of their life cycle. The fashion industry is predicted to see losses in profits of up to 3-4% unless it can increase efficiency and reduce waste. Thus, the industry is increasingly looking for sustainable solutions —notjust to meet growing environmental awareness, but also for economic reasons.
Circular is currently developing partnerships with H&M and Levis. At a ceremony in Stockholm last April, the company won the 2018 Global Change Award, which recognizes the most exciting sustainable fashion developments.
Exciting, indeed. ♲