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Eco Emerges at Techtextil North America Trade Show

Left: The Tidal Vision booth, shared with Leigh Fibers, attracted a crowd throughout the Show. Right: BastCore introduced its industrial hemp fiber processing and proprietary technology.
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How to foster a cleaner, greener future for the industry was a hot topic at Techtextil North America 2021 last week at the Raleigh Convention Center where panel discussions during symposiums and conversations in the exhibitor aisles left little doubt that sustainability is defining the way forward for the textile business.

“Sustainability is not only a huge priority for Siemens but sustainability is also a huge priority in helping our customers help their customers in terms of product development, manufacturing and transparency,”  said Suzanne Kopcha, VP, Consumer Products & Retail, Siemens Digital Industries Software, who presented at a morning symposium on Day 1 in a session titled, “Sustainability, Traceability & Supply Chain Disruptions.” Panelist WIll Duncan, executive director of SEAMS, elaborated on that point, adding “A strength of the U.S. brand/retail marketplace is growing demand for sustainability throughout the supply chain.”

Exhibitors promoting new sustainable developments and solutions dotted the show floor landscape. Hemp exhibitors were busy throughout the two day trade fair, as hemp for textile end use is quickly gaining traction as a “new” natural fiber. Two examples of companies to watch in this space are IND Hemp out of Montana and BastCore based in Alabama. Both of these young companies are working hard to get a domestic hemp supply chain up and running. IND Hemp has built a 52,000 square foot hemp fiber decortication plant. The fiber plant is structured around a five-ton per hour Laroche fiber decortication line. Earlier this Spring, BastCore, a manufacturing industrial hemp fiber processing & technology company, completed a round of financing for $2.8 million. BastCore CEO Coleman Beale said he looks forward to putting the funds to good use expanding developments around the firm’s proprietary “low cost, high output” model.

A new partnership between Tidal Vision and Leigh Fibers also spotlights the industry’s interest in advancing sustainability. Tidal Vision, founded in 2015 and based in Bellingham, WA is a vertically-integrated, commercial-scale producer of chitosan, an upcycled byproduct derived from the seafood industry that features naturally inherent performance properties. The company will open a new 24,000 square-foot production facility in Wellford, SC, Leigh Fiber’s home base. According to the companies, this is Leigh Fiber’s first partnership in its 100-year history.

Another buzzy topic at the Techtextil North America fair in Raleigh was microfiber shedding, and in particular, the recent news of a global standard achieved by AATCC.  A few years in development, this is a welcome development as the textile industry continues to grapple with solutions to this worldwide problem. One finding from the AATCC reveals that microfiber shedding is not just in the wash and in the oceans, but also evident in the air.

Updates on this and a variety of important eco issues in the Sept/Oct issue of Textile Insight magazine.

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Aug 30, 2021

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