Education – Sustainable Yarns and Fibers

I’d like to share some information today that I found in Metropolis Magazine that I find important and educational. As I continue to look for sustainable products and sources for design projects, information like this gives me a great basis for making decisions. I shared information with you a few weeks ago about biobased products in general. The article below is specifically about biobased yards and fibers which would be the basis of materials and fabrics chosen for a new build or renovation project.

8 Sustainable Yarns and Fibers

These innovative yarns, derived from waste plastic, algae, and more, set the stage for a new generation of textiles.
Written by Ethan Tucker, October 22, 2020
See Full Article HERE

Yarn is the basic unit of virtually all fabrics, so without innovation at the level of the yarn and the fibers therein, any advancement in the sustainability or performance in fabric materials would be limited to weaving, knitting, or postproduction treatments. Fortunately, materials scientists, fabric makers, and textile companies are stepping up, spinning performance yarns from space-age synthetics, transforming waste into brand-new fibers, seeking out biobased sources for fabric, and rediscovering ancient materials.

Biobased yarn is not a novelty—after all, cotton and wool are not exactly new—but thanks to new technology and novel ways of thinking, oceans, forests, and even arachnids are all proving to be sustainable sources for fibers and filaments. Bananatex, a fully biodegradable and waterproof fabric, uses yarn derived from the fiber of the abaca plant (a member of the banana family), which has been cultivated in the Philippines since before European contact. AlgiKnit is a fully biodegradable yarn made from kelp, a kind of seaweed whose cultivation actually helps to restore marine water quality while providing an alternative to plastics. Lyocell, often known by the brand name Tencel, is a high-performance biodegradable fiber made from wood pulp that has attracted many acolytes, including the brand Patagonia. An artificial spider silk produced through fermentation called Microsilk takes a biophilic approach, seeking to replicate natural phenomena at an industrial scale.

Materials scientists are finding ways to transform even conventional yarns. A synthetic yarn common in sustainable flooring products as well as the fashion industry, ECONYL is made entirely from recycled material and uses no raw petroleum resources in its production. Forty-one percent of the yarn used in Tilt Shift, an upholstery textile from Luum, is derived from the millions of tons of cotton clothing that are thrown out each year. Another design brand, Paola Lenti, has developed a new yarn to replace unsustainable materials in its products: Twiggy is composed of fine threads of polyolefin encased in a coating of the same material. It’s UV resistant, waterproof, and simple to clean. Best of all, because it contains only a single polymer, Twiggy is easy to recycle. The advantages of recycled and low-impact yarns are so appealing that even home knitters are getting in on the action, with knitting start-up Wool and the Gang’s new offering New Wave Yarn. It’s a soft, comfortable blend of cotton and polyester from recycled water bottles that’s suitable for virtually any project.

Paola Lenti Rug

I hope you find this information as educational as I did and that it inspires you to consider sourcing materials that use these sustainable yarns and fibers. 

The question I always have is where to find these products. I was able to find several companies that use these biobased yarns and fibers just by google searching the information in the article, so I’ll share some of those over the next few weeks.

You may also find other sources of biobased fabrics and materials Here. 

As always, please feel free to share information with me regarding sustainable products and sources for the industry … I love to get this information to use for my own projects and share with others!

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