Would you wear a shirt if the label said it was made of shit?
It is possible that you wear something from cotton. Since the fifth millennium BC, people have used natural fiber from the cotton plant in the textile industry and now it is a huge industry. Currently, the plant grows in about 2.5% of the world's arable land to supply the world with 25 million tons it uses each year.
Land use comes at a cost. First of all, cotton needs water to grow. WWF estimates that about 10,000 liters of water is needed to produce one kilogram of cotton cloth – enough for a pair of jeans and a tee. Look around you and you will see why this is a problem in a world that is increasingly being pressed for water. Second, growing cotton is like cultivating any other crop. to grow efficiently, farmers use fertilizers and pesticides. These chemical substances leak into streams, aquifers and lakes, contaminating water with excess nitrogen and deadly pesticides.
And this is before the dirtiest step in the process, dyeing and finishing.
Well, what can we do? One solution is the use of organic cotton, which can be easier for the environment in terms of chemicals but uses more water along the way. Another solution could come from the back end of the cows.
Cotton fiber is essentially pure cellulose which is processed into yarns. But as you can remember from the biology class, all green plants produce cellulose, just not in the same concentration with cotton. Wood, for example, contains about 40 to 50 percent cellulose, while cotton consists of 90 percent of the good substance.
The only problem is how to get it out. Cotton cellulose is easily obtained due to its high concentration. The plants with lower concentrations require more treatment before producing a useful quantity. This processing does not necessarily have to be wasteful factories.
Cows are famous because they have four stomachs (in fact, they have one, consisting of four compartments, but anything right) to be able to dig hard grass. One way to look at this is that they eat grass, extracting the nutrients they need to survive and throw away the waste.
Another way would be to see that they consume a raw starting material having a high cellulose content, removing all the material that is useless for textile production and producing a basic material consisting mainly of the essential cellulose.
That's more or less how the artist and businessman Jalilia Essaidi approached the problem. While researching genetically modified goats that produce silk silk in their milk, which in turn can be used for human skin grafts, she developed a method to convert cow dung to cellulose fibers.
"Our solution transforms an acute agricultural waste problem into a sustainable source of raw material for the textile industry, "he told us.
The method called Mestic solves two problems simultaneously: on a scale, it could be rid of both excessive manure and polluting cotton cultivation.
He estimates that excess manure that is secreted globally could give us more than ten times the cellulose we need to meet the wildest desires of our fashion.
TNW went to a farm to observe the process and talked about how this poopy solution could change the world.
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