Select Language

Start-up focuses on food waste-based textiles

A US-based start-up is finishing trials on its food waste-based fibres, and has told it has had “great results” from banana and pineapple, among others.

Circular Systems is using unused biomass from crops such as rice, soy, hemp and corn, and its technology covers 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

It operates three solutions: Agraloop (biorefinery,) Orbital (hybrid yarn technology - converting high recycled fibres into high performance yarns) and Texloop (mechanical recycling).

Ricardo Garay, project coordinator, said: “It begins and ends with the soil. We have natural systems that we can leverage and reverse some challenges. If we can unlock the potential of agricultural lands and encourage photosynthesis, we can have incredible results. We have a situation, currently, where flax field are burnt, and banana waste is left to rot.”

In the Agraloop processs, food waste is added to a biorefinery. In time, the biomass could be used to power the plant. The company is initially focusing on oil seed hemp and oil seed flax.

“The fibre functions like a linen or hemp, and drapes like a linen. Banana, hemp and flax all perform similarly,” Mr Garay told us.

The company has blended the bio fibre with organic cotton, silk and Tencel, and says it is suitable for workwear and denim. 

“In the future we could mix the raw materials, but now we are concentrating oil seed hemp and oil seed flax. There is a global movement around hemp. It does have a restorative capacity for the soil.”
Then company is running commercial trials in China and is scaling up and expanding. 

“2020 will be about continuing to deliver on better and consistent quality materials, and then at the end of the year we’ll be experimenting with the other fibres,” said Mr Garay.

He added that sugar cane will be an interesting fibre because of the impact on the farming communities. 

The bio fibre can also be used for non-wovens such as packaging.