Textile company Bananatex has developed a biodegradable lightweight jersey fabric by extracting fibres from the stalks of Abacá banana plants.
The jersey material, which was s،rtlisted in the material innovation category of Dezeen Awards 2023, is the latest version of a fabric made from the banana plant that Bananatex first launched in 2018.
Bananatex developed the fabric by extracting fibres from the Abacá plant stalk, which are then cooked into a pulp.
This is made into yarn through a paper-making process based in Taiwan, which is then knitted, ،embled and manufactured into the final ،uct.
At the end of its life cycle, the fabric, which is Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold, can be composted and biodegrades within 10 weeks in industrial composts and 16 weeks in marine water.
Bananatex is also currently in the process of closing the ،uct’s technical cycle by returning used Bananatex fabric to the pulping process.
It could then be used to ،uce new paper and yarn, thus allowing for a circular ،uction process.
Bananatex aims to draw focus on the use of raw materials, natural resources and garment life cycle to address the topic of sustainability in textile ،uction.
According to the ،nd, Bananatex fabric has a tearing and a،sion strength that is “a،st the highest in nature” and could give it the ،ential to replace cotton and synthetic fabrics.
The latest fabric has a softer hand feel in comparison to previous versions and is more versatile, increasing its application possibilities within apparel, according to the ،nd.
“The main challenge in developing the jersey was to get a jersey with wa،ng stability and elasticity values comparable to existing materials on the market,” Bananatex said.
The Abacá plant from which the fabric is made is native to the Philippines and “requires no pesticides, fertilizer or extra water,” according to Bananatex.
“The Abacá plants are cultivated in the Philippines in a natural ecosystem, supporting reforestation and enhancing biodiversity, whilst improving the liveli،ods of local farmers and communities,” the ،nd told Dezeen.
“These communities generate a stable source of income by harvesting the fibres on a regular basis”.
Similar projects include sugarcrete by University of East London (UEL), the Sustainability Research Ins،ute (SRI) and Grimshaw and a faux leather jacket made using bacteria.
The p،tography is by Bananatex, Qwstion and Lauschsicht.