Six sustainable textile innovations from Taiwan
With petrol-based yarns, fibres and fabrics still being around and 66 percent of all garments globally being sent to landfills in 2019 alone - more than one million tons and an increase of more than 800 percent over the last 60 years - the fashion industry needs to make inroads to decrease its environmental impact. Textile innovations are an important step in this direction and yarn, fibre and fabric manufacturers have come up with creative solutions in the past, using banana fibres, apple waste, kelp and more as alternative resources.
At a recent online seminar, six textile companies from Taiwan presented their latest sustainable textile innovations that involve using unusual waste products such as fish scales and coffee oil and other materials like castor oil. Biodegradability is also high on the list of must-haves. FashionUnited has put together the latest sustainable yarn and fibre innovations at a glance.
Camangi Corporation - Umorfil Bionic Fibre made from fish scales
The waste from fish products is currently 35 percent, of which 1-5 percent are the scales. Camangi uses these fish scales for their Umorfil Bionic Fibre. The company cleans the fish scales and then extracts ocean collagen peptide amino acids from them. Using supramolecular technology, they are then mixed with textile materials like viscose or filament chips to create a bionic functional fibre that is comfortable, skin friendly, naturally deodorising and moisturising, thus well suited for face masks, innerwear, baby wear, etc. The Oeko Tex Standard 100 certified fibre is also 100 percent biodegradable and eco-friendly due to its use of waste materials and production process without chemicals or detergents.
Four Elements Energy Biotechnology Co. Ltd. - Talent Yarn with nano zinc technology
The company’s Talent Yarn integrates zinc to produce an eco-friendly, functional yarn that has anti-static, anti-odour, antiviral and antibacterial properties and protects from harmful UV rays; in other words, it promotes healing and growth. It is also produced in a non-toxic and non-chemical way and has received the EU’s REACH non-toxic approval for yarns. The company’s latest innovation, I-Mydrive, implants various mineral-rich elements into the yarn and uses resonance imaging to activate the wearer’s skin, also keeping him or her cool in summer and warm in winter. According to Four Elements, “it can last forever” as liquid metal is incorporated as well, making the material extra durable.
Yi Shin Textile Industrial Co. Ltd. - sustainable Magic Yarn series
Yi Shin presented various yarns from its Magic Yarn series, for example Magic BES, All Weather and CAC, which are breathable, skin friendly and quick-drying. All yarns in the series, which are biodegradable, go through an eco-friendly production process that uses less labour and energy but also fewer packing materials and more efficient transportation.
Acelon Chemicals & Fiber Corporation - bio-based nylon yarns from castor oil
Acelon makes sure to create less waste and pollution by using recycled materials, dope-dyed colour materials and biodegradable materials, for example its CiCLO yarn. This means less consumption of petroleum-based materials and the extension of a product’s lifecycle through abrasion-resistant materials like DuraXTend yarn that can be mixed with high-abrasion materials like wool. The company claims that it can withstand even 300.000 wash cycles without considerable wear and tear.
The company’s AceEco PA410 Bio yarn is 70 percent bio-based and made from Sebacic acid extracted from castor oil. Castor oil plants grow even in poor soil conditions and without irrigation. They also do not compete with the food chain. In addition, the yarn’s production process is carbon neutral as the carbon dioxide emitted during polymerisation is offset by the amount absorbed by the plants.
Libolon - Ecoya and ReEcoya solution-dyed yarns
The company’s motto “producing more from less” has been applied to the Ecoya and ReEcoya solution-dyed yarns, which use 80 percent less water, 64 percent less coal, 20 percent fewer chemicals, 53 percent less electricity and emit 63 percent less CO2 than the production cycle of regular yarns. The company’s PolyPlus yarn uses recycled polyester, thus saving more than 70 percent energy and emitting almost 69 percent less CO2 than regular PET yarns. The yarns have received BlueSign verification, are Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified and TÜV approved, among other certifications.
Singtex - Airmem, world’s first bio-based coffee membrane
Singtex, known as the maker of S.Café, a yarn made from coffee grounds, which offers natural anti-door qualities, UV ray protection, quick drying time and recycled polyester, has developed its microporous membrane technology further to come up with Airmem, a windproof, waterproof and oil-repellent membrane with excellent moisture vapour permeability. It is made from a mixture of recycled polymers and coffee oil, which has been extracted from leftover coffee beans and grounds. German outdoor brands Schöffel and Vaude are already using this technology in their products.
Much is possible today when it comes to sustainable textile innovations and one can only hope that petroleum-based and non-biodegradable materials are a thing of the past, thus helping the fashion industry erase its negative environmental impact.
Image: Yi Shin