New Textile Technology Makes Leather Alternative From Discarded Pineapple Leaves

1. Sustainability problem: leather production

The textile industry produces a lot of leather. The production of leather is extremely resource-intensive (water, land, food, fuel) and produces large amounts of waste, including toxic chemicals used in tanning. Faux leather (e.g., made from PVC) is another prevalent material and is not a sustainable material either as its production and disposal release a lot of toxic materials into the environment.

Category: Waste

2. Technology Summary

Source: “63-Year-Old Designer Creates Faux Leather From Pineapple Leaves”, Greenmatters (http://www.greenmatters.com/living/2017/10/19/Z1Y0sHm/63-year-old-designer-creates-faux-leather-from-pineapple-leaves)

  • This article discusses a materials technology innovation called Piñatex, which is a material made from discarded pineapple leaves and serves as an alternative to leather and faux leather
  • As pineapple leaves are a crop by-product, creating the material is not resource intensive, requiring no additional water, land, fertilizer, or fuel to make the material
  • Sourcing pineapple leaves from pineapple farmers also provides these farmers with an additional revenue stream
  • The resulting material can be mass-produced and used for virtually everything that leather could be used for, including apparel, shoes, bags, car seats, and upholstery
  • This material is produced in a closed loop process, starting with sourcing the pineapple leaves directly from farmers, returning any waste products during production to pineapple farms to be used as fertilizer, and composting piñatex materials at the end of a product’s life

Tags: #textiles #materialsresearch #fashion #sustainability #closingtheloop #cradletocradle

3. Stakeholders

Piñatex is currently only distributed in a brand-to-brand (B2B) format. Therefore, the key stakeholders are companies that currently design products with leather or faux leather. Specifically, design teams would need to learn about the material and design with this material in mind.

End customers are another stakeholder as they could drive demand for this material, asking companies to include this material in their collections in the future.

4. Deployment Strategy

  1. Proactively send samples to key companies that design with leather and/or faux leather and have sustainability goals, e.g., Eileen Fisher (fashion), Veja (shoes), Matt and Nat (bags), Tesla (car seats), etc.
  2. Build relationships with fabric retailers in cities with large fashion industries (e.g., New York City, Los Angeles, London, Berlin, etc.)
  3. Explore partnering with pineapple farmers in other parts of the world to increase production and reduce the carbon footprint for customers in other parts of the world (other top pineapple producing nations are Costa Rica and Brazil)

5. Comment on Another Post

I commented on “Sensor-Packed Pedestrian Crossing”

The article also discusses how this sensor-based crossing is envisioned to be integrated into the road. A responsive, sensor-based surface made of steel would be integrated under the regular road surface. On the top of these two layers of the road would be the LED lights, covered in a high-impact plastic to prevent damage from vehicles and weather.

 

Soil-Free Farming Grows Vegetables in the Desert

  1. Technology (http://www.livescience.com/42835-soil-free-farming-grows-vegetables-in-the-desert.html)

Agricel is a Dubai-based venture which hopes to expand film farming technology across the U.A.E where water scarcity is a central problem. With the film farming system, plants are grown on a hydromembrane invented by Professor Dr Yuichi Mori of Waseda University in Japan which is made up of water-soluble polymer and hydrogel. Each internal cell within the film adsorbs and holds water and plant nutrients, preventing evaporation and surface loss.

The soil-free technology allows users to reap several benefits. Using Agricel’s technology, farms require 90% less water than traditional methods, while also using 80% less chemicals and producing 50% higher yields. The incidence of diseases by pathogens (bacteria, viruses, etc.) is also fully controlled even without chemicals, because the pathogens cannot penetrate the hydromembrane. The growing method causes the plants to increase their sugar production and amino acids in order to absorb the water. The byproduct of this is produce that is sweeter and more vitamin rich.

water2bsaving2bfilm

  1. Sustainability Problem

Agricel seeks to ease the daunting task of feeding future generations in an increasingly uncertain climate and world. By promoting film farming and the use of hydrophillic boosters, they have focused their efforts on more efficient water use and fighting world hunger.

This technology reduces the amount of water and fertilizer needed in plants which means crops can be grown in water scarce regions or regions with poor quality soil. The film is versatile and can be placed on nearly any surface such as concrete, bricks or even sand and greenhouse, and in nearly any climate. Hydrogel can be mixed into the local sandy soil, boosting water retention and nutrient distribution.

  1. Stakeholders
  • Agriculture industry
  • Urban and traditional farmers
  • Material researchers
  1. Implementation Process

Launched in 2010, the Agricel network is primarily based in Japan but has since extended to China, Pakistan, Nigeria, the U.A.E, U.K. and Australia. The range of test pilots with successful results allow them to prove the technology’s adaptability.

They are now focusing on partnering with organizations which do not necessarily have the farming technologies or experience but have powerful distribution networks, negotiation capabilities and confidence in the technology to provide safe, reliable and highly nutritive produce. This will allow the technology to be implemented on a larger scale, leveraging partners’ existing network and Agricel’s technical expertise.

Despite the many benefits of film farming, the foremost barrier to implementation is the high cost. The hydrogel film is sold at around $2,000/ acre with a professional installation of about $2 million. However the company suggests that the initial investment will be returned between 18-24 months due to the low operational costs of the farm, in addition to the increased yield and improved quality of the produce.

For their next steps, the company hopes with their expanding scope and scale of technology implementation that continuous R&D could lead to the application of film farming in industrial production.

why-film-farming

 

Sources:

Agricel, Why Film Farming: http://www.agricel.co/why-film-farming.html

Appropedia, Film Farming: http://www.appropedia.org/Film_Farming

Hydrate Life, Water Saving Technologies: Film Farming: http://www.hydratelife.org/?p=360

Your Culinary World, Amazing New Farming Technique Could Make Food Available Almost Everywhere for Everyone: http://www.yourculinaryworld.com/leading-stories/2012/4/10/amazing-new-farming-technique-could-make-food-available-almo.html

Smart Tailoring

smart tailoring

Problem: Textile Waste

Textile waste is a major issue in the fashion industry, leading to increased waste material and cluttered landfills, not to mention wasted time, energy and money.

Technology: “10 awesome innovations changing the future of fashion” by Melissa Breyer

A new technology produced by Indian designer, Siddhartha Upadhyaya, called the Direct Panel on Loom (DPOL), also referred to as Smart Tailoring, is way to increase fabric efficiency by up to 15%. It can also reduce lead time by 50%. “By using a computer attached to a loom, data such as color, pattern and size related to the garment is entered, and the loom cranks out the exact pieces — which then just need to be constructed.” With this technology, weaving, fabric cutting, and patterning happen all at once. This process ends up minimizing fabric waste and saves energy and water by 70-80%.

Stakeholders:

Smart Tailoring tech engineers/designers

Technological partners

Investors

Fashion designers

Clothing retailers

Customers

Implementation:

In order to implement this technology on a large-scale, a number of investors need to be introduced

Smart Tailoring should start a campaign marketing the technology to both low-end and high-end textile suppliers, proving that the process could be cheaper in general, save the company money, time and energy

Fashion designers must begin to use the technology to introduce the innovation to the public and encourage its usage down the supply chain i.e. factories and low-end designers/retailers.

Sources:

http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-fashion/10-awesome-innovations-changing-future-fashion.html

http://www.treehugger.com/style/high-tech-meets-low-waste-in-new-computer-generated-eco-fashion.html