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Food crop waste to be used in fiber production

July 3rd, 2018 / By: / EcoNote

Circular Systems, a materials-science startup, plans to turn food crop waste like banana peels, sugarcane pulp, pineapple leaves, and hemp and flax stalks into textiles, according to an article in Sourcing Journal. The company’s proprietary closed-loop system, called Agraloop Bio-Refinery, is designed to do just that.   

According to Isaac Nichelson, CEO of the California-based firm, what is currently agricultural waste is often burned or left to rot, both of which create greenhouse gases. In contrast, capturing waste streams could have positive environmental effects as well as beneficial global and local economic outcomes. Farmers could turn agricultural byproducts into revenue. And textile industries could shift away from reliance on costly (and often toxic) petrochemicals.

Agraloop garnered Circular Systems a $350,000 Global Change Award grant from the H&M Foundation in March 2018. Nichelson said the grant will allow the company to optimize technology, scale up production and produce the first commercial Agraloop BioFibre textiles.

Circular Systems is also recycling textile waste via its technology called Texloop. The company’s research found that an average of 16 percent of all textiles end up as scraps on the cutting floor and nearly 85 percent of used clothing is destined for landfills.

The company reports that its Texloop orbital hybrid yarn technology can create low-piling, high-strength yarns by gleaning a mix of recycled and sustainable fibers currently considered waste.