June 17, 2024

Lenzing Fibres Made Geotextiles Protect Glaciers From Melting

The Lenzing Group, a supplier of regenerated cellulose fibre has created a unique, innovative concept that contributes to the sustainable protection of our glaciers.

“It also inspires collective action for sustainable practices and a circular economy in the nonwovens and textile value chain,” Lenzing informed in a press release.

The presentation titled ‘Glacial Threads: From Forests to Future Textiles’ took place as part of the International Day of Forests celebrations at the Palais des Nations, United Nations Office, Geneva.

The melting of glaciers is being severely impacted by global warming and geotextiles are used to protect ice and snow.

However, the nonwovens used for this are made of fossil-based fibres, which allow microplastics to enter the valley via streams and may enter the food chain through small organisms and animals.

“Nonwovens made from cellulosic Lenzing fibres, which are biodegradable at the end of their life cycle and can be completely recycled, are the sustainable solution to this problem,” the Austrian company said.

The covering of a small area with the new material made from Lenzing fibres was tested for the first time during a field test on the Stubai Glacier and four meters of ice was saved from melting.

This was confirmed in a study conducted by the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian glacier lift operators on the Stubai Glacier in Tyrol, Austria.

In 2023, the pilot project was successfully extended to all Austrian glaciers used by tourists.

“We are delighted with the positive results and see the project as a sustainable solution for glacier protection,” Berndt Köll, Emerging Business Development at Lenzing also said.

Last year, the project was also awarded first place in the prestigious Swiss BIO TOP Awards for wood and material innovations.

Lenzing takes this pioneering innovation project as an opportunity to inspire collaborative action towards sustainable practices and circularity in the textile value chain.

Together with a network of committed and innovative partners, Lenzing is working on processing geotextiles into new textile fibres giving them a second life as a garment.

The use of geotextiles is usually limited to two years, after which the nonwovens would be disposed of.

In the first phase of the pilot project, the recycling of nonwovens made for geotextiles use has been successfully tested and a fashionable ‘Glacier Jacket’ has been produced, showcasing that recycling of geotextiles is viable.

The network also includes Marchi & Fildi Spa, a specialist in the field of mechanical recycling, the denim fabric manufacturer Candiani Denim and the avant-garde fashion studio, Blue of a Kind.

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