Spandex brand Lycra might expand interest in bio-derived textiles

invista-logo-smallInvista, a business with apparel as one of its four major cornerstones, is leading the way for green-based spandex with the launching of their Lycra brand of new bio-derived spandex made of 70 percent renewable bio-based materials.

This makes Invista the only company to sell commercially available spandex not made from raw materials provided by the petroleum industry at the moment.

Invista plans to make 300 to 400 tons of this eco-friendly fiber this year, providing enough material to manufacture millions of their garments and aims to double that by next year. The fiber is derived from fermented dextrose-based corn sugars. While the fiber is mostly bio-derived, it does not affect the processing characteristics or the performance of the fiber, acting exactly the same way as the commonly used petrochemical-based materials.

Production of commercial quantities of the Lycra is planned for late 2015/ early 2016 collections, though the fiber debuted at Paris Mode City earlier this month. The first products likely to use it will mostly be activewear and denim, though it will see some use in underwear as well.

Lycra’s new line is something members of the green community should keep their eye on, and hopefully invest in, as a stepping-stone for greener production of textiles in the future.

On top of the product mainly being bio-derived, the renewable feedstock used in the production of the fiber will result in lower CO2 emissions than the current production process. This production method shows the company is thinking green and could lead to future green products. And it is likely Invista will invest in future green ideas given the fact its suitability program goals outlined on its website are:

  • Minimizing its environmental footprint by conserving resources, reducing emissions and eliminating waste at its manufacturing plants.
  • Offering competitive products that meet the needs of the apparel markets using fewer resources and to enhance the environmental performance of all fabrics.
  • Protecting the health and safety of our workers and communities and participating in local stewardship initiatives.

This isn’t the first time a company has developed bio-based spandex, as RadiciSpandex created bio-based spandex in 2011. However, it’s the first time a company of Invista’s size and sensibilities has made a foray into the bio-derived spandex business, meaning the company has a decent chance of making the fiber catch on with the public. But only the public can dictate with their wallets if more companies will embrace this methodology or stick with the products and production methods they already have.

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