12 Companies Turning Food Waste Into Fashion Statements – Food Tank

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports that it is estimated that a third of all the food produced in the world is wasted. But the textile industry, which accounts for 6.7% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study by Quantis International— finds a role to play in efforts to reduce food waste.

Some companies like Circular Systems produce natural fibers from organic waste to reduce the company’s impact on the environment. “Zero impact is just one important step on the road to beneficial impact, which is what we really need to achieve as a species in our habitat,” said Isaac Nichelson, co-founder and CEO of Circular Systems. And Nichelson’s company isn’t alone.

Food Tank spotlights 12 innovative companies that transform food waste and agricultural by-products into portable, eco-friendly products. These companies aim to fight food waste, while offering products they hope will create more sustainable food and fashion industries.

1. Agraloop (Circular systems)

One of Circular systems‘ Three revolutionary waste-to-fiber platforms, Agraloop transforms food waste into BioFibre™, a high-quality natural material used in the fashion industry. This fiber is made using a processing technique that breaks down organic waste, including pineapple, banana, flax and hemp seeds. Debut at Global Change Award 2019 and featured in vogueAgraloop reports that this technology can help generate up to 250 million tons of fiber each year and meet more than five times the current global fiber demand.

2. Allegory

Allegorie is a women-owned company that produces high-quality, cruelty-free, and PVC-free accessories from discarded fruit. The company collects produce such as mangoes, apples, and cacti from farms and grocery stores to convert them into bags, backpacks, wallets, and more. Using a combination of plant-based polymer materials and recycled polyester, they claim to use 84% less energy than traditional production methods.

3. ALTTEXAS

Toronto startup ALT TEX creates a sustainable alternative to polyester from food waste. Founded by entrepreneur Myra Arshad and her best friend and biochemist Avneet Ghotra, the company recently raised 1.5 million US dollars which will go directly to the commercialization of the polyester type fabric. As a member of NEXT36 An entrepreneurship program, the startup aims to disrupt the polyester industry by creating a sustainable fabric made from food waste and free of microplastics.

4. Anam Pineapple

Certified B Corporation, Ananas Anam is the developer of Piñatex, a vegetable-based leather made from waste pineapple leaf fibers. More than 100 brands around the world have used the company’s textile, which can be mixed with other natural materials. The company reports that converting the sheets – which otherwise would have been wasted – into Piñatex prevented the release of 264 tons of carbon dioxide. Piñatex is the recipient of the Arts Foundation Material Innovation Award in 2016. Publications including Huffington Post, WIRED, SHE, voguealso showcased the company’s products.

5. Bananatex

Made from fibers from the naturally grown Abacá banana plant in the Philippines, Bananatex is a 100% biodegradable, waterproof fabric developed by Swiss bag brand and material innovators. QWSTION. Requiring no additional inputs such as pesticides or fertilizers, the banana tree used for Bananatex is also used to aid reforestation efforts in the Philippines. This circular replacement for synthetic fabrics won the Green Product Award 2019, the Design Prize Switzerland Award 2019/20 and the German Sustainability Award Design 2021.

6. Bolt threads

Bolt Threads is a hardware solutions company behind Mylo, a faux leather made from mycelium, the underground network of fungi. Producing the mycelium used to create Mylo requires mulch, air, and water, and according to the company, the mycelium only takes two weeks to grow. Brands like adidas, lululemon and Stella McCartney have incorporated Mylo into their product lines.

seven. Dessert

Founded in 2019 by Adrian Lopez Velarde and Marte Cazarez, Mexican company Desserto produces a leather alternative made from nopal cactus, also known as prickly pear. Plastic-free, cruelty-free, and requiring little water to produce, this plant-based leather is used in the automotive, fashion, and furniture industries. Desserto has recently partnered with companies such as Adidas, Mercedes Benzand BMW. They have been recognized and awarded by organizations such as LVMH, Good Design Australia, Global Fashion Agenda, Architectural Summaryand PETA.

8. Kombucha Couture

Designed by cheesemaker Sacha Laurin, Kombucha Couture is a line of sustainable jewelry and clothing produced by the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) that is also used to make kombucha. Working to create a durable and versatile fabric that can replace leather, canvas or silk, Laurin experiments with different dried cultures to create wearable pieces. Featured at Sacramento Fashion Week in 2014 and in Huffington PostKombucha Couture hopes to help define sustainable fashion.

9. orange fiber

Using citrus juice by-products, Italian company Orange Fiber strives to produce high quality, sustainable fabrics for apparel companies around the world. To produce their fabric, they blend a silk-like cellulose yarn that can be used alone or blended with other yarns and materials. Orange Fiber reports that they have produced over 15,000 yards of fabric while recycling over 120 tonnes of citrus per-product. Orange Fiber is the recipient of several awards including the UNECE Ideas for Change Prizethe MF Supply Chain Awards 2020the Elle Impact2 Award for Women.

ten. QMilk

Developed by microbiologist and fashion designer Anke Domaske, QMilk is a 100% renewable and biodegradable textile fiber made from cow’s milk. Using the 2 million tonnes of milk that is wasted in Germany every year, QMilk strives to offer a sustainable and innovative solution to food waste. Aiming for zero waste, the company is the recipient of awards whose Greentech Award 2015 and the Innovation Award “Biobased Material of the Year” in 2014.

11. S.Coffee

Invented in 2008 by Taiwanese functional fabric company Singtex, S.Café is a fabric made from used coffee grounds. S.Café sources the grounds from cafes across Taiwan and combines them with other recycled materials to produce a deodorizing and quick-drying yarn. North Face, Puma and Timberland are among the clothing brands that use the brand’s materials. In recent years, S.Café received the Taiwan Excellence Award in 2016 and 2017, and the ISPO TEXTRENDS Award in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018/19.

12. Vegea

Founded in 2016 in Milan, Vegea is a tech company that makes a leather-like vegetable product from wine waste. Derived from grape pomace – the skins, stems and seeds that are typically wasted during wine production – Vegea’s vegetable-based leather is a 100% recyclable and renewable textile. Companies can use the leather for bags and other accessories, footwear and clothing. Vegea has received awards and accolades, including the 2015 Start&Cup Award, the 2017 Made in Italy Innovation Award from Unicredit and the 2017 Global Change Award from the H&M Foundation.

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons