If you’re a promotional product distributor with clients who have an eco-friendly ethos, then there is a start-up in Finland that could, perhaps one day, have your customers going green with delight.
Spinnova, as the company is called, has invented a technology that transforms wood fibers directly into yarn. Why is that a big deal? Well, making apparel is a bit of a nasty business. Gargantuan water consumption can strain natural resources, while chemicals used in the clothing creation process can cause pollution. However, the yarn manufacturing process Spinnova has pioneered reportedly uses 99% less water and 80% less energy than the cotton process. As impressively, the wood fiber method does not require extra chemical treatment of the pulp fiber. And, the yarn is recyclable.
With the Spinnova process, the amount of wood used annually in Finland could reportedly be enough to replace the world’s entire cotton production. Perhaps that’s far-fetched, but if the yarn-making method were to gain major traction, then it could, as FabricLink notes, “revolutionize both the textile and forest industry.”
And one-day drive trends in the promotional products marketplace? Maybe.
It might seem improbable from where we sit now, but you never know. After all, innovations in synthetic fabrics led to polyester and poly-blended performance wear – a category that has absolutely taken over the promo market. As more corporations and consumers focus on sustainability, demand for apparel created with wood fiber yarns could one day rise, provided it’s cost-effective and adopted widely at retail, among other considerations. Sure, there’s probably a long way to go before that might happen, but production of the wood fiber is expected to be upgraded to industrial scale in 2017-18. We’ll see where that leads.
Regardless, we think it’s cool that Spinnova, an offshoot of VTT Technical Research Center of Finland, got the idea for its process by combining the web-weaving method of spiders with paper manufacturing. Even cooler is the fact that innovators like Spinnova are working hard to deliver practical, well-made products for apparel at a markedly lower environmental cost.