In Hanover, Germany, QMilk (Qmilch IP GmbH) is finding new ways to use not-for-consumption milk products. It has developed a bio-based polymer consisting of the milk protein casein from the 1.7 million tons of non-food milk that are thrown out each year in Germany. The 100 percent natural textile fiber is used for fashion, sportswear and home textiles. The new fiber feels like silk, and it is antimicrobial and compostable. The company also makes a biopolymer granulate used in auto interiors, toys and packaging.
In addition to establishing a countrywide collection system, in 2014 QMilk embarked on a program that has resulted in the development of products for the plastics, cosmetics and injection-molding industries. In April 2014 QMilk won first place in the Bio-based Material of the Year Innovation Award, and it is nominated for Germany’s GreenTec Awards for sustainability and eco-friendly products.
In a year, QMilk has filled a new 32,000-square-foot facility with machinery with production lines and a technical center. It also has introduced a line of skin-care products. The target for 2015 is a system that provides consistent quality and is capable of running 24 hours a day.