Orange Fiber squeezes orange peel into versatile, biodegradable textile
Orange Fiber has developed a process that closes the loop on citrus waste: by extracting cellulose fibre from orange peel the Sicilian start-up can spin these fibres into biodegradable yarn.
The company's patented technique plays in on market drivers from both consumers and producers. Whereas consumer demand for sustainable materials is rising, citrus juice companies face increasing burdens and challenges in properly disposing of waste.
By linking Orange Fiber's innovation to the cultural heritage of the orange industry in Sicily, the company was able to attract the attention of high-end fashion brands. Its yarn was first brought to market by Salvatore Ferragamo, who launched a daily wear capsule collection using the fiber on Earth Day 2017.
Orange Fiber's use of citrus waste does not impede food production itself, but reduces the waste that is generated as a consequence of processing oranges. With 700,000 tonnes of citrus waste being disposed in Italy every year, a sizeable market provides sufficient raw materials for the company to scale.
Orange Fiber has:
- patented a technique to extract cellulose fibre from citrus waste
- launched a pilot collection with Salvatore Ferragamo
- won the Global Change Award, obtaining €150,000 in funding for R&D towards a production effort in 2019