Sugar Cane

In a world of a perfectly circular economy, everything is in its place and everything has a place.  New resources are conserved while old resources are reused, remanufactured and repaired to prolong its life cycle.  And when the product reaches its deathbed, it is “phoenix-ed” into another existence.  The principle of cradle to cradle is the intelligent direction of a world whose raw materials are clearly depleting fast.  Most of the manufacturing world has realized this and are taking the necessary steps.

The world produced around 175 million metric tons of sugar in a 2014/2015 statistic.  Asia was tagged as the region which produced the largest supply.  While Russia and France use sugar beets, Asia uses Sugar Cane juice to produce the sweet crystal.  Philippines belong to the top 10 sugarcane producers of the world in 2015.  After the cane has been pressed and the juice extracted, the remaining by-product called bagasse is then burned to fertilize the next season’s cuttings. That was the old school way of the Industrial Revolution; wasting around 90% of the resource.

Research and development found a way to breathe life into bagasse for making paper and boards, pulp composites for construction, dietary fiber supplements, creating biodegradable cups and containers, ethanol production for fuel, down to innovative clothing lines. Without the added cost of fertilizers, water and energy for growing new raw materials.

The fashion biosphere has caught on and fabrics with a heart are fast becoming chic.  Take for example sugar cane.  Saccharum officinarum is one of the tall grasses with versatile uses.

In 2013, textile company Carnegie took fabrics to another level.  After 7 years of research, the company released BioBased Xorel, a plant-based textile, specifically from 65 to 80% sugar cane—claimed to be first in the world.  Although in 1975, Sugar Cane and Co., a Japan-based company, already produced their world famous jeans made from 50/50 sugar cane and cotton ratio.  A well-kept secret, the Sugar Cane Denim does not exactly say whether the fiber comes from leaves or from the stalk, but for sure it sequestered tons of carbon from the environment since the 70’s with its eco-forward fashion.

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The manufacturing process of BiobasedXorel. (Source:www.metropolismag.com)

Sources:
http://www.toyo-enterprise.co.jp/main0023.html
http://www.fibre2fashion.com/industry-article/7048/sugarcane-fibres-eat-it-or-knit-it-?page=3
https://www.hindawi.com/archive/2013/651787/
http://www.canegrowers.com.au/icms_docs/118839_schools_fact_sheet_products.pdf
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugarcane. Accessed November 29, 2016.
http://www.agribusinessbrazil.com/sugar-cane/
http://www.metropolismag.com/November-2013/Sweet-by-Design/
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