What are bio-based fibers and what can they do?

En route to the post-fossil age, conventional, petroleum-based synthetic fibres have long been counted out. But what alternatives are there, which innovations are actually more sustainable and how will the consumption of synthetic fibres develop in the coming years? FashionUnited asked outdoor supplier and sustainability pioneer Vaude.

The current outdoor industry would be inconceivable without synthetic fibres. The vast majority of functional materials are based on synthetic man-made fibres such as polyester and polyamide. How could this change? Outdoor supplier and sustainability pioneer Vaude has just launched a pair of trekking pants made from bio-based polyamide. The yarn used consists of 62 percent castor oil and was developed together with polymer specialist Evonik. Does the future belong to bio-based plastics in the clothing industry? We talked about it with René Bethmann, innovation manager at Vaude.

Mr. Bethmann, what exactly are bio-based fibres or fabrics?
René Bethmann: In short, these are bioplastics or biopolymers. And as far as the current hype is concerned, I find it interesting that plastics have originally always been biobased; rubber for example. Plastics made from petroleum only came along later.

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