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From Bamboo Scraps to Fabrics

  • By LEED GA, Charlene on Green
charlene_brown_ecoeffect_radioA jacket made from bamboo, tobacco or potato will biodegrade to once again become part of its natural ecosystem. www.charleneongreen.org  When you are done wearing your fleece (polyester/plastic) jacket, you toss it in the trash. Those plastics pollute our planet and take millions of years to break down.

The yarn business for apparel, industrial, automotive, and furniture has a long history of using raw materials based primarily on petroleum products. Petroleum is used to make plastics from which polyester, polyolefin, and PVC are produced.

I have two beautiful girls, they mean everything to me, and they inspire me. At age 4, my oldest daughter started asking me why we used plastic bags, and what happened when we threw them away. She didn't just ask once, it was over and over. Her questions got me thinking.

At the time I was working for a nationwide textile mill. It was my job to meet with yarn makers and suppliers and come up with new ideas for our fabric collections. All the suppliers had the same stuff - plastic. I kept asking myself, is there anything but plastic, recycled plastic, and all this petroleum yarn? Then one day a friend of mine called and asked if I knew anything about bamboo? I started researching it. It was that light bulb moment: why not look at other sources that actually biodegrade?

In 2003, after my second daughter was born, right from my kitchen table I began to research and developed a biodegradable yarn. My company, Intuittex, creates the protocols for yarn from plants by taking cellulose and spinning it into yarn.

The solution is simple. We take leftovers from French fries, or tobacco, or veneers instead of throwing it away. We use this plant material to make fabrics for clothes, cars, furniture, drapery, industrial uses, and buildings. At Intuittex, we are making things that make sense to the environment for the long term.

Our patent-pending biodegradable textiles are as viable as the commercial petroleum based yarns. It passes all the rigorous industry tests for strength, abrasion and wear. The most amazing part is that Intuittex fabrics look beautiful and sophisticated.

We have an incredible team of people and one of my dearest friends pushing me to keep Intuittex going. We are what you would call a ‘mom and pop' shop, or maybe even ‘mom and daughter shop.' For the moment, we have a limited production in South Carolina. But we are growing as more people start to demand better products with zero impact on the environment.

At Intuittex we want to change what you are wearing, sitting on, admiring as stunning, functional, durable, and sustainable.

2013 SGVJournal. Developed and Designed by Charlene on Green

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