We’ve been hearing a lot about sustainability and recycling as a way to conserve resources. How far could we take this if we put our minds to it?
Pretty far. One of the more novel ideas I’ve heard regarding recycling the byproducts of food production comes from designer Sacha Laurin. Her career began as a professional cheesemaker, fermenting milk with bacterial and yeasts. This has led to fermenting Chinese green tea known as kombucha, then transforming the bacterial “colony” left after brewing into a solid material that, when dried, can be made into clothing. Her website is at http://www.kombuchacouture.com/. (The photo is from that website.)
She may be onto something. According to a short article in the May 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine entitled “Fashioning Food Waste” by Catherine Zuckerman, a start-up in Sicily is working with discarded juicing by-products like orange peels to make a silk-like yarn. A company in London is also helping support Filipino pineapple farmers by turning leaves into a fabric suitable for shoes and bags.
Kombucha apparel is not yet available in stores. Some problems need to be addressed, like water resistance. But the concept seems sound. Someday you just might up wearing what you didn’t eat.
For more information, see “Can Kombucha Couture Save the World?” by India Mandelkern (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/india-mandelkern/can-kombucha-couture-save_b_4321938.html ).