Second Harvest: Fields of fabric

For over a decade, Canopy has been advocating for the use of agricultural residues as an alternative to making pulp and paper products from virgin forests.

Our Second Harvest campaign has built market interest (and demand) for this paper solution; partnered with authors, book publishers and magazines on trials to demonstrate the commercial viability of straw-based papers; and is working with farming communities and entrepreneurs to leverage the construction of straw pulping facilities in North America.

Once grain crops are harvested and animal bedding and soil regeneration needs are met, there are large volumes of leftover straw. Rather than burning this straw in the field or disposing of it as a waste product, this residue can provide another yield as a fiber source for paper and packaging materials.

And since straw can be manufactured into paper and packaging material, why not into fabric as well?

On-purpose agricultural and non-wood fibers also hold potential. Flax, already used for linen, can be processed using a special enzyme treatment developed by CRAiLAR, yielding a fiber that is similar to cotton.  And bamboo is gaining ground as a soft, comfortable fabric. When planted on degraded lands, bamboo can be a more sustainable alternative than viscose/rayon fabrics made from ancient and endangered forests.

Canopy is working with a broad array of stakeholders to explore the viability of straw and other non-woods as viable fiber sources for fabric and clothing production. In-depth research is the first step in exploring the textile potential of these fibers. Our CanopyStyle partners are committing to invest in research and development to advance the use of agricultural residues and other sustainable non-wood fibers in clothing. We look forward to exciting developments over the next 12 – 36 months.