Finnish waste-to fiber technology wins World Changing Ideas Award

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In Finland, a technology for producing fiber from cellulose in waste products has won Fast Company’s 2019 World Changing Ideas Award.

Based in Jyväskylä, Spinnova says its process can use old fabric and agricultural waste such as potato peels, wheat straws and trees to produce fibers that can replace virgin cotton in textile manufacturing.

“Our water usage is minimal,” Janne Poranen, CEO and cofounder of Spinnova, tells the company. The process also does not use chemicals, unlike cotton, which requires the use of pesticides. Spinnova’s products also do not release microplastics during laundering, as synthetic fabrics do.

The company completed a pilot plant late last year and is using wood pulp from Finland’s plentiful forests, but Poranen says the company has “only scratched the surface” in terms of available materials for feedstock.