New Zealand company unveils wool-rice yarn on world stage

A unique New Zealand yarn blended from wool and rice straw has officially been launched on the world stage, according to media reports.

The yarn, called Mibu, uses 70 per cent New Zealand mid-micron (mid 26 to 30 micron range) wool and 30 per cent rice straw and has just been launched at the World Expo in Milan.

The brains behind the idea is the Formary, a textile design and development company in Wellington.

Co-founder Bernadette Casey said the company planned to make the yarn into upholstery fabric by the end of the year.

“In China alone, over 200 million tonnes of rice straw is burnt after harvest each year, contributing to their air pollution problem. We spotted a potentially game- changing opportunity to re-use this unwanted food by-product, help reduce carbon emissions, and create a sustainable – and desirable – new product. So we’ve worked to develop the world’s first ever textile made from a blend of wool and rice straw,” she said.

A luxurious and resilient upholstery fabric, Mibu (which means “rice cloth” in Mandarin) will initially be woven in Italy, where Casey is now based to oversee production.

This isn’t the first time the Formary has hit the headlines with a revolutionary fibre. Back in 2010, they made global headlines when they collaborated with Starbucks and developed WoJo, an award–winning fabric combining New Zealand wool with coffee sack waste fibre. (SH)

Ms Casey said the demand for food production is projected to double in the next 40 years to meet growing demands from an additional 2 billion people, making it logical that arable and productive land producing single-purpose fibre crops like cotton would have to give way to dual purpose crops that produced both food and fibre.

Fibre2fashion News Desk – India

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