The Rise of Biodiversity and Industrial Materials for the Textile Industry - FESPA (2023)


withDebbie McKeegan|05/04/2023

The Rise of Biodiversity and Industrial Materials for the Textile Industry - FESPA (1)

In 2020, global fiber production was estimated to have increased to about 110 million tons according to Textile Exchange, a research group that encourages sustainability. This indicates a near doubling of the textile fiber market size since 2009.

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Global clothing consumption has been estimated at 80 to 150 million items per year, of which for every five garments produced, three go to landfill where the synthetic fibers remain for hundreds of years, washing microfibers onto the earth's surface and into our atmosphere . demean. We urgently need to rethink and redesign the essential fibers we consume in bulk.

Responsibly sourced and sustainable materials remain in short supply worldwide and the textile industry cannot yet generate (or recycle) the volume required by the global supply chain in many market sectors. While the fashion industry is often in the spotlight, all textiles must become cyclical in the long run. We must now rely on science to provide a solution. In the world of bio-based alternatives, the focus on research and development is becoming more and more intense, and as the climate crisis grows, solutions to two main problems are urgently sought:

First, the discovery of new raw materials that are renewable and subject neither to intensive cultivation nor to the depletion of finite resources. And secondly, in the production of new raw materials for the production of textiles that are biodegradable and do not contribute to the mountains of waste accumulated by the ever-growing textile, fashion and decoration industries.

Renewable raw materials

The search for environmentally friendly raw materials has two distinct branches, the replacement of traditional cellulosic components such as cotton and silk, and the replacement of organic polymer raw materials for sustainable polyester production.

In terms of replacing traditional cellulose, significant progress has been made with the introduction of numerous biodegradable solutions - science continues to gain pace in this lucrative material market.

Below we detail some of the new products on offer now, some will expand and dominate specific markets and applications, others will fade. But the most important factor is their appearance and the expansion of their production and their wide availability as adoption increases.

Banana fiber: Bananatex® is the world's first durable, technical fabric made exclusively from natural Abacá banana plants. Grown in the highlands of the Philippines within a natural ecosystem of sustainable mixed agriculture and forestry, the plant is self-sufficient, requiring no pesticides, fertilizer or extra water.

Sea-Weed Fibers: Keel.Labs (formerly AlgiKnit) believes that seaweed-based fibers can dramatically change the environmental impact of fashion by offering a non-toxic, carbon-neutral material that is both highly versatile and sustainable. Kelp is a large seaweed that grows abundantly in dense, underwater forests near the coast. AlgiKnit processes algae, one of the fastest growing and most renewable organisms on earth, into functional fabrics that can be used for clothing, accessories and footwear.

Nettle Circle provides a sustainable regenerative natural fiber that is flexible, high performance, circular and now traceable with Haelixa labeling technology from the husk to the final consumer product. This next-generation natural fiber grows wild and can be farmed with a marginal ecological footprint.

Soy protein fiber is derived from soybean pulp, which is the insoluble part of soybeans and a by-product of tofu and soy milk production, making it environmentally friendly and biodegradable. Known as Soy Silk, the fabric is smooth and soft, creating a fine fabric that absorbs and releases moisture very quickly. Shrink and wrinkle resistant with antibacterial properties, it is often blended with other fibers to increase wearability and durability.

Bamboo Fabrics, of which China is the largest producer, are environmentally friendly, sustainable and responsible. The bamboo plant grows quickly without the use of pesticides, excessive water or care. Bamboo regenerates quickly and even cleans the air as it grows. Bamboo fiber is made by manipulating the leaves until they are separated into fine threads, which are then spun into yarn for weaving or knitting fabrics. Bamboo is the largest member of the grass family, growing up to 35 meters tall. They are the fastest growing woody plants in the world. This rapid growth rate and the fact that bamboo can grow in a range of different climates makes the bamboo plant a sustainable and versatile resource.

Turning the spotlight on polyester, what are the new developments? Significant progress has been made in the development of renewable and biodegradable polymer feedstocks for circular or alternative polyester fiber production.

Organic polymer raw materials

Organic polymers are an important source of biodegradable, renewable polyesters and are now being intensively developed around the world. We consider some of these innovations as detailed below:

PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) is a biodegradable, recyclable and biodegradable polymer made from annually renewable resources, offering a reduced carbon footprint compared to traditional plastics. TotalEnergies Corbion, based in the Netherlands, operates a 75,000 tpa PLA plant in Rayong, Thailand and recently announced plans to build a second plant in Grandpuits, France.

Polybutylene succinate PBS can be produced by combining several monomers (building blocks of the material) derived from renewable plant sources instead of fossil fuels, thanks to recent advances in biotechnology. Therefore, instead of oil, Kintra sources corn and wheat sugar to produce its resins and fibers, which undergo a melt-spinning process similar to polyester, nylon and other synthetic materials. Providing comparable look, feel and performance without contributing to the problem of microplastic pollution.

New Developments for Recycling and the Circular Economy

The fiber community is increasingly pursuing a circular, low-carbon economy as innovation and serious institutional investment continue to drive the agenda. In summary we note some of the most recent developments and innovations in the field of recycling.

PET recycling: South Korean chemical company SK Geo Centric (SKGC) has partnered with SUEZ and Loop Industries to build a recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) facility in Europe. The joint venture plant will produce 70,000 million tonnes of virgin quality, fully recycled PET plastic and polyester fiber for the European market.

Circulose: Renewcell is a fast-growing Swedish textile recycling company with unique technology and a world-class team of people on a mission to change the global textile industry for the better. They aim to recycle the equivalent of more than 1.4 billion t-shirts every year by 2030. Their product is called Circulose® and they make it from 100% textile waste. Brands use it to replace high-impact raw materials like mineral oil and cotton in their textiles.

Eastman Advanced Circular Recycling Technologies: Eastman plans to invest up to $1 billion in a molecular material-to-material recycling facility in France that will use Eastman's polyester renewal technology to recycle up to 160,000 tons per year of hard recyclable plastic waste that is currently being cremated.

MyReplast™ Upcycling: MyReplast Industries is a company of the Maire Tecnimont Group, controlled by NextChem and located in the "Circular Economy" cluster in the energy transition roadmap. Active in the recycling of plastic waste, the company uses a proprietary technology capable of separating and then combining different polymers present in the waste. Separation of the polymers, through an optical selection phase (by polymer and by color) followed by a synthesis step, to produce high-quality granules that can replace virgin plastic in various application areas.

Enzyme Engineering: Protein Evolution's technology iteratively tests, evaluates and maps tens of millions of unique enzymes to identify the most efficient way to recycle waste into reusable chemicals. This approach will help decarbonize industry and have a significant impact on the emerging bioeconomy as companies, communities and governments are challenged to meet global sustainability goals in the coming years. The Protein Evolution team collaborates with outstanding researchers who are pushing the boundaries of protein engineering and materials innovation. The group expects to launch its first commercial partnership by the end of 2022, meeting the needs of global consumer brands seeking to recycle and convert textile and mixed plastics waste.

The Bio-Solution For A Better World

As we look at the decoration and fashion industries, the panorama of effort, innovation and investment in renewable energy technologies is truly impressive and has made remarkable progress in a very short period of time.

With only a limited response time, as the options for our planet run out, there is no shortage of players and investors willing to play a role. This is an emerging multi-billion dollar industry and offers both the planet and the investor - a significant reward.

Bio-based alternatives to the fossil fuel Armageddon offer the prospect of a real path forward for the textile industry. The substantial ecological advance from enzymes to plant-based raw materials marks a new landscape for materials science and the fabrics we consume. Which in turn, will also change the technologies and chemistry we use to print on them.

It's an exciting time for our industry and we look forward to witnessing significant changes for the better in the coming years.

Collaborative content published in collaboration with Texintel:

The cover image featured in this article was taken fromUnscrew.

with Debbie McKeegan Back to News


What is the textile industry summary? ›

The textile industry is primarily concerned with the design, production and distribution of textiles: yarn, cloth and clothing. The raw material may be natural, or synthetic using products of the chemical industry.

Why is the textile industry important? ›

Textile products play a vital role in meeting mans basicneeds. We often only consider textiles to be the clothes we wear. Obviously,the clothing industry is where the majority of textiles are produced and used. However, textiles are also important in all aspects of our lives from birthto death.

What is an example of a textile industry? ›

This includes spinning mills, weaving mills, knitting mills, dyeing mills, garments. In addition, companies that sell buttons, zippers, knitting supplies, sewing machines and threads, laces, looms, and drapery hardware is also related to this industry.

What was the importance of the textile industry in the Industrial Revolution? ›

Textile manufacturing played a major role in the industrial revolution. The production and increase of cloth climbed quickly because it changed from handlooms to factories and machines, which allowed for more time to be spent on other things, so output increased rapidly.

How was the textile industry impacted by the Industrial Revolution? ›

Invention dramatically changed the nature of textile work. The flying shuttle, patented by John Kay in 1733, increased the output of each weaver and led to increased demand for yarn. This prompted efforts by others to mechanize the spinning of yarn.

How does the textile industry affect the environment? ›

With 1.7 million tons of CO2 emitted annually, accounting for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the textile industry is a major contributor to global warming.

How bad is the textile industry for the environment? ›

According to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, textile production produces 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas every year. The United Nations estimates that 10 percent of total global emissions come from the fashion industry.

What are three sustainability issues in the textile industry? ›

Sustainability Issues in Textile Production:

High energy consumption, Huge waste generation, Heavy transportation, Excessive packing materials.

How did the textile industry affect society? ›

The British textile industry drove the Industrial Revolution, triggering advancements in technology, stimulating the coal and iron industries, boosting raw material imports, and improving transportation, which made Britain the global leader of industrialization, trade, and scientific innovation.

What is the most important textile? ›

1. Cotton. Ah cotton. This hardy little fabric is the world's most popular textile, and you'll find it in everything from towels and bed sheets to jeans, tee-shirts, underwear and more.

Where did the textile industry develop and why? ›

The industrial revolution started in Great Britain in the mid-1700s. Textile production was the first great industry created. The textile industry in America began in New England during the late 18th century.

What are 3 examples of textile? ›

list of textiles
  • azlon.
  • bombazine.
  • brocade.
  • calico.
  • cambric.
  • camel hair.
  • canvas.
  • cashmere.
Apr 30, 2023

What are 3 examples of textile products? ›

Use and applications
Commercial textiles/ Domestic textilesEnd usesTechnical textiles/ Industrial purpose textiles
FurnishingUpholstery, curtains, draperies, carpets, towels.Geotextile
BeddingBed sheets, khes, blankets, pillows.Automotive textile
OthersShower curtains.Medical textile
1 more row

How was the textile industry most improved? ›

New technological innovations such as Hargreave's “spinning jenny”, Richard Arkwright's water frame, and the Boulton and Watt steam engine improved the quality of thread and the speed it took to produce.

What are the three important invention in the textile industry? ›

Inventions like Spinning Jenny, Water Frame, Mule and Powerloom aided the textile industry whereas the invention of the Steam Engine, Rail Coach, Steam Ship aided the transport sector.

What new inventions helped the textile industry? ›

The textile industry was greatly impacted by a number of new inventions such as the flying shuttle, the spinning frame and the cotton gin. But it was the invention of the Spinning Jenny by James Hargreaves that is credited with moving the textile industry from homes to factories.

Did textiles suffer because of the Industrial Revolution? ›

While consumers benefited from a greater variety of goods at lower costs, textile workers often suffered as the factories replaced many skilled weavers with unskilled workers at lower wages.

What textile became the most popular during the Industrial Revolution? ›

Cotton played a key role in the United States' Industrial Revolution. By the mid-19th century, the United States supplied 61 percent of the world's raw cotton, all of it grown in southern states. Textile mills in New England used raw cotton from the South to spin, dye, and eventually weave and print cotton fabric.

How and why did textile industry initiate industrialization? ›

As coal and water began driving the efficiency of the production of goods, so did the demand rise. Textile factories, or mills, began to improve the manufacturing of fabrics. Machines allowed factories to produce textiles on a much larger scale by directly weaving thread and turning it into fabric.

How can we reduce the environmental impact of textile industry? ›

  1. Reduce the use of toxic processes. ...
  2. Investigate recycled textile creation options. ...
  3. Stop participating in the fast fashion trend. ...
  4. Improve wastewater-related practices. ...
  5. Develop fabrics that shed less. ...
  6. A commitment to change sparks impressive results.
Aug 19, 2020

Why is environmental sustainability important for the textile industry? ›

Sustainability need in textile industry

Fossil fuels contain large amount of carbon and react with oxygen to form carbon dioxide which increases the amount of global warming in the world. Apparel industries also need to eliminate environmental hazards and improve process efficiency.

What do textile industry workers commonly affects with? ›

Exposure to cotton dust and other particles leads to respiratory disorders among the textile workers. The fatal disease of byssinosis, commonly known as brown lung, is caused among people working in the textile industry on account of excessive exposure to cotton dust.

What are the major pollution in textile industry? ›

The main source of air pollution in dyeing & printing industries is steam generation by coal and water. When the steam is generated, it produces carbon, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and Sulphur, which again cause air pollution.

Is textile recycling good for the environment? ›

Recycling textiles decreases the amount of waste in landfills, reduces our collective carbon footprint, converts waste into useful products, and provides buy cheap ambien online jobs for many people, both here and around the world. Planet Aid is committed to getting people to recycle unwanted textiles.

Is the textile industry the most polluting? ›

Scientists estimate that, globally, 35% of the microplastics found in oceans can be traced to textiles, making them the largest source of microplastic pollution in the world's oceans.

How can we make textiles more sustainable? ›

Select sustainable materials

Natural fibres such as cotton and bamboo have a lower environmental impact than synthetic fibres such as spandax and polyester. Select inks and dyes that are non-toxic, natural or vegetable-based.

How can we make textile industry sustainable? ›

The textile industry needs to keep track of sustainability at every step of its production. As a whole, it can be outlined to include the following measures: Utilization of natural resources water and energy in production processes. Animal cruelty norms in the procurement of wool, silk, fur, etc.

What are the advantages of sustainability in textile? ›

Sustainable clothing company's best practices:
  • Use less water.
  • Use renewable energy to manufacture goods.
  • Use recycled/eco-friendly fabrics in their clothing.
  • Eliminate disposing in unethical ways.
  • Use recycled materials in their shipping packaging.
  • Fair labor practices and fair wages for all employees working in factories.
Nov 4, 2021

Why is textile waste a problem? ›

Textile production is estimated to be responsible for about 20% of global clean water pollution from dyeing and finishing products. Washing synthetics releases an estimated 0.5 million tonnes of microfibres into the ocean a year.

How textiles changed the world? ›

Textiles funded the Renaissance and the Mughal Empire; they gave us banks and bookkeeping, Michelangelo's David and the Taj Mahal. The cloth business spread the alphabet and arithmetic, propelled chemical research, and taught people to think in binary code.

What is the economic impact of textile industry? ›

The textile industry plays a significant role in Indian economy by providing direct employment to an estimated 35 million people, by contributing 4 per cent of GDP and accounting for 35 per cent of gross export earnings. The textile sector contributes 14 per cent of the value-addition in the manufacturing sector.

What textile is best for the environment? ›

Generally, natural fabrics like organic cotton and linen (made from plants) and Tencel (made from sustainable wood pulp) are more sustainable than man-made fabrics like Polyester and Nylon (which are petroleum-based and take hundreds of years to biodegrade).

What makes a good textile? ›

Its feel and its drape, its bearing, weight, and elegance, are all synonymous with quality. The same thing happens with sound. That's right: a good fabric has a characteristic sound. When you ruffle and stretch a fabric — a good fabric — like an accordion, it sounds tough, firm, and satisfying, not rough or scratchy.

How important is clothing or textiles? ›

Clothing can insulate against cold or hot conditions, and it can provide a hygienic barrier, keeping infectious and toxic materials away from the body. It can protect feet from injury and discomfort or facilitate navigation in varied environments. Clothing also provides protection from ultraviolet radiation.

Why did the textile industry grow? ›

It started with the mechanization of the textile industries, the development of iron-making techniques, and the increased use of refined coal. Trade expansion was enabled by the introduction of canals, improved roads, and railways.

What are the two characteristics of the textile industry? ›

(i) It is oldest and largest industry in India. (ii) It is widespread industry found almost in all states of India. (iii) This industry provides employment opportunities both in rural and urban areas.

How did textiles begin? ›

The history of textiles began in approximately 3400 BC and was a common commodity among ancient Egyptians. Egyptians used flax harvested on the banks of the Nile to create linen, the earliest textile.

What is textile industry also known as? ›

Why is the cotton textile industry called an agro-based industry? ii.

What are the 4 main textile processes? ›

  • SPINNING. Spinning allows the transformation of a mass of disordered fibres (staple) into a unit of great length (yarn). ...
  • DYEING YARN. Dyeing is the process of transforming greige (natural) yarn into coloured yarn through the use of colour substances. ...
  • WEAVING. ...
  • FINISHING. ...

How does the textile industry work? ›

It is largely based on the conversion of fibre into yarn, then yarn into fabric. These are then dyed or printed, fabricated into cloth which is then converted into useful goods such as clothing, household items, upholstery and various industrial products.

What is textile in simple words? ›

: cloth sense 1a. especially : a woven or knit cloth. : a fiber, filament, or yarn used in making cloth.

What are 2 examples of textiles? ›

Thus, threads, cords, ropes, braids, lace, embroidery, nets, and fabrics made by weaving, knitting, bonding, felting, or tufting are textiles.

What is textile used for? ›

All synthetic textiles are used primarily in the production of clothing. Polyester fiber is used in all types of clothing, either alone or blended with fibers such as cotton.

What are 5 examples of natural textiles? ›

Common natural fibers sourced from the plant kingdom include cotton, flax, hemp, bamboo, sisal, and jute. Their main component is cellulose. From animals, we get popular fibers like wool, silk, angora, and mohair.

Why is textile important? ›

Textiles are used in our homes to insulate them from heat and cold. Thefurniture, on which we sit and sleep, is composed of various types of textile products. . Textiles are used in roofing materials, wire coverings, wall coverings, blinds, airducts and window screens.

What are the 6 categories of textiles? ›

Textiles are classified according to their component fibers into silk, wool, linen, cotton, such synthetic fibers as rayon, nylon, and polyesters, and some inorganic fibers, such as cloth of gold, glass fiber, and asbestos cloth.

What are textiles in industry? ›

A textile is a product that emanates from weaving and knitting yarn, known as a fabric. The textile industry takes raw materials and spins them into yarn to make fabric or a textile product. There are two types of fabrics in the textile industry; synthetic and natural.

What is a textile description? ›

Definition of Textile

Textile is a fabric (Woven or knitted) made from yarn. Though it is referred to woven fabric, it is also applied to fibre, yarn, fabric and any other product made from these. It is also associated with the production of clothing.

What is the brief history of textiles? ›

Some of the earliest dyed fibers were found in caves dating back over 30,000 years ago in Georgia. Other textile artifacts, like net gauges, spindle needles, and weaving sticks, were found in ancient civilizations 5000 years Before Common Era. Fabrics and textiles became prevalent in the Ancient world.

What is textile briefly? ›

Textiles are materials made from fibers, thin threads or filaments that are natural or synthetic or a combination of both. Textile fibers can be classified in natural (organic) fibres and man-made (synthetic, industrial) fibers, there is an enormous variety of textile fiber types available.

What is textiles known for? ›

Now the word textiles encompasses materials used to make fabrics and fabrics themselves. Textiles are everywhere in our lives. They are in our clothes, our furniture, our carpets and our bedding. They can be made from natural or synthetic fibers, and they can be woven, knitted, felted or even printed.

What is textile design in simple words? ›

Textile designing is a field that includes fashion design, carpet manufacturing and any other cloth-related field. Clothing, carpets, drapes, and towels are all functional products resulting from textile design. Textile design has influenced other works or trends in the field of art.

What started the textile industry? ›

The industrial revolution started in Great Britain in the mid-1700s. Textile production was the first great industry created. The textile industry in America began in New England during the late 18th century.

What were textiles first used for? ›

The earliest textiles found in South America date back to an estimated 12,000 years ago. These woven textiles were excavated from the Guitarrero Cave in Peru. It is assumed that they were being used by settlers for a variety of creations like baskets and wall coverings.

How do textiles work? ›

It is largely based on the conversion of fibre into yarn, then yarn into fabric. These are then dyed or printed, fabricated into cloth which is then converted into useful goods such as clothing, household items, upholstery and various industrial products.

How is textile different from fabric? ›

Textiles stand alone as an unfinished product, or they can combine with other materials to create something different. Fabric is mainly an “ingredient” mixed with other materials, creating the finished product.

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