From Trash to Treasure
A Material World
For now, the next chapter of the recycled-fabric epic is a veritable compost pile of opportunity. Here are but a few materials finding new life
• Corn husks. In a 2004, professor of textile
science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Yiqi Yang, Ph.D. developed a method of creating yarn from corn husks. It is strong, easily dyeable and can be found in great supply—the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports corn is the most widely
produced feed grain in the country.
• Seaweed. Though German corporation
Smartfiber AG touts its seaweed-based fabric, SeaCell, as having holistic properties, some controversy surrounds its claims. A 2007 study done by The New York Times reported the fabric had no seaweed, yet follow-up tests by the company proved the opposite to be true. Only time will tell whether or not SeaCell can find its footing with the retail public.
• Milk. After a fat-removing and curdling
process, milk’s proteins are separated and concentrated. Once it has hardened, the fibers can then be wound and spun. The result? A delicate fabric as soft and luxurious as cashmere. Made by Chinese textile company Cyran, it can be found in boutiques coast-to-coast.