Materials like cotton and wool are necessary for the production of the clothes we wear every day. However, the consumption of water, energy and other resources for the production of these fibers can be extremely high, not to talk about the usage of land.
The cheaper alternative to cotton and wool is rayon. Companies have been manufacturing rayon since the early 20th century. It’s relatively inexpensive to produce and doesn’t require as much human labor.
Unfortunately, it requires a chemically-intensive processing of wood pulp and plant fibers which has a very negative impact on our environment. And by the way, the cellulose which is extracted from the wood pulp is usually treated with carbon disulfide. When this stuff gets close to your body it can lead to cramps or, even worse, loss of feeling in your extremities. Yug!
But luckily that is about to change! Australian scientists have found a way to produce fabric in a way you would never expect. They let microbes eat waste. It sounds weird, right?!
Through a fortunate discovery, they found out that these microbes can transform the waste matter into a type of rayon fabric. Instead of destroying the nature, chopping down millions of trees, pumping chemicals into the land, the Australian company Nanollose is starting to produce its new eco-friendly fabric with help from their little microscopic friends.
It takes just a few weeks for the microbes to turn biomass into usable cellulose!
The Australians started letting the organisms consuming coconut leftovers from Indonesia. After some weeks of process the company was able to produce its first woven fabric.
The great thing about this incredible discovery is that traditional industrial equipment can be used as well to produce eco-friendly rayon. Re-tooling of factories won’t be necessary for clothing producers.
We all love a belly filled with the things we like to eat, don’t we? Let the microbes have that! What a great way to produce our future clothing!