5 Sustainable fabrics made out of recycled food waste you need on your radar

5 Sustainable fabrics made out of recycled food waste you need on your radar

Green light

Text: Joan Kong

Image: Pinatex
Image: QMilk
Image: MycoTEX
Image: S Cafe

Give power dressing a whole new definition with these eco-friendly materials

Earth Day may be over, but that doesn't mean you should stop doing your part in helping to preserve the planet. For those who want to review your environmental footprint and live a greener lifestyle, get a head-start on your eco-friendlier lifestyle with these innovative fashion finds that help to promote a sustainable wardrobe. Aside from some of our favourites such as organic cotton and bamboo linens, here are five new fabrics you should know that are making a difference in the textile industry:


Piñatex (Pineapple)

Pinatex pineapple leather

If Piñatex doesn't ring a bell, maybe 'pineapple leather' would. Considerably the most well-known of the lot, the textile was founded and developed by a leather-goods expert, Dr. Carmen Hijosa in the Philippines back in the '90s. Made from raw materials that are derived from leaves discarded from the pineapple harvest, the leaf fibre—extracted through a decortication process-will be degummed to become a non-woven mesh, which will then be sent to Spain for specialised finishing. Result? A leather-like texture that gives 'pineapple leather' its name. A scroll through its Instagram account and you'll be able to see the array of products made from the material, from clothing to bags and shoes in an array of prints and colours.



QMilk (Sour milk)

QMilk sour milk yarn

Did you know: milk contains more than 200 vitamins, minerals and proteins that can be processed and turned into resources? What started out as a search for non-allergenic fabrics for the founder, Anke Domaske's cancer-stricken father led to the discovery of the QMilk fibres, which are made out of milk—sour milk, to be exact. After separating the protein, the powder will then be mixed into water to form a dough, before being made into textile fibres. 100% natural and silky smooth, the fabric reportedly makes your skin feel softer with every wear, as it absorbs and contains moisture. Aside from clothing, the fibre can also be made into natural cosmetics and organic plastic. Are you sold yet?


SeaCell (Seaweed)

SeaCell seaweed fibre

The Seacell textile fibre is made of two simple ingredients: natural cellulose-based Lyocell fibre and seaweed. Adapted to clothing such as underwear and sportswear, the fabric is long-lasting and absorbs sweat 50% faster than cotton. On top of that, thanks to its mineral substances such as calcium, Vitamin A and more, they're also good effects on the skin. Like QMilk, Seacells can also be incorporated into medicines and cosmetic products, thanks to the high concentration of vitamins and minerals found in seaweeds.


S.Cafe (Coffee grounds)

S.Cafe coffee textile

Love your coffee? A couple in Taiwan has managed to come up with a sustainable fabric that involves the discarded coffee grounds. Invented by Jason Chen—whose wife jokingly told him he should put coffee in his clothes to smell less after workouts—the S.Cafe yarn was the result of four years of hard work and determination. Using the coffee grounds which are thrown away after roasting beans, the raw material—mostly collected from local cafes—are combined onto a yarn surface using Jason's self-made technology, which uses a low temperature, high pressure and energy saving process. The final yarn product has four main functions: odour control, fast drying, UV protection and an ice cool touch, which is able to cool down the temperature of your skin by one to two degree Celsius.


MycoTEX (Mushrooms)

MycoTex mushroom fabric

One of the newest of the lot, MycoTEX is a textile that is made out of mycelium—a root-like fibre of mushrooms. Founder Aniela Hoitink's wanted to attempt to create a fabric out of a living material, and produce clothing out of it. The fungal fibre is grown into mycelium in a mould for two weeks before being marinated in a special liquid. The circular shapes are then placed on a 3D mould to form a garment, and will stick together during the drying process. Being a non-toxic, waterproof and fire-resistant material that is both flexible and strong, the textile can be formed thinly for clothing or household items such as lampshades, or on different furniture.

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