Sunday, June 3, 2007

1. Textiles


Mark said...

Can we have a world of ramie and sheep? (Cotton, as they say "is the mother of poverty" and is incredibly scalable. Because it is so scalable, it is highly supply-side biased potentially--into degrdative arrangements of plantation agriculture. And that is just what has happened over the past 250 years to make "King Cotton". It's hardly a hegemony that has been kind on the planet or human equality.)

As for sheep, there's wool--and a whole lot else. Sheep have multiple commodity pathways--always quite useful for the raiser if one particular market price goes down, they can move into selling it in different ways. Sheep are ideal because they have so many other utilizations besides textiles in other words.

Ramie is useful since it is basically a weed that grows quickly (like hemp), and it might be utilized in marshland frameworks instead of requiring agricultural plots...


The following information is taken from a Fast Company article that appeared in June 1998, showing just how much can be done... if one only wants to.

William McDonough's work for DesignTex Inc., a contract fabric manufacturer and a subsidiary of Steelcase Inc., offers a model of his design principles at work.

The challenge:

Design a totally organic, environmentally safe fabric that could be produced on a commercial scale and priced competitively. DesignTex's original suggestion to McDonough: Make the fabric from cotton and recycled plastic ( polyethylene terephthalate, or PET ). Such a blend would be environmentally correct - right?

The response:

Wrong! In McDonough's system of organic and technical metabolisms, that "monstrous hybrid" would fit into neither category. "Cotton is responsible for about 25% of the world's pesticide use," he says. [Yep. And for a lot of wasteful water use and soil erosion.] "Fabric made from PET contains antioxidants, UV stabilizers, and plasticizers - not the kind of stuff that belongs next to human skin."

The solution:

McDonough selected ramie, a linen-like fabric made from an organically grown weed [it's an historic East Asian textile fiber, similar processing to hemp (with a retting process], along with wool from sheep in New Zealand. All materials underwent careful inspection - from the soap used to wash the wool to the lubricants used on the machines. To locate "safe" chemicals, he talked with 60 chemical companies before one, Ciba-Geigy, agreed to open its books to his team. The team eliminated 7,962 textile chemicals; only 38 passed its test. "We did our entire fabric line with those 38 chemicals," says McDonough.

The result:

A fabric that won several design awards. Even better, the manufacturing process that McDonough set up in Switzerland was so elegantly designed that water inspectors thought their testing equipment was broken: The effluent - the water leaving the factory at the end of the process - was cleaner than the influent. "That's revolution," McDonough says. "That's redesign."

Many other interesting textile links there.

The last one had a dead link, describing this, so I rescued it from

This section has been designed to give you a better understanding of our latest Sustainable Initiative-the launch of the second collection of environmentally intelligent fabrics designed by William McDonough.

With the launch of the first collection in 1995, DesignTex took on a massive research and development project. In the process, we encountered some new and confusing issues but learned a great deal. We have learned even more in the past three years, working with our supplier in Switzerland, McDonough's office and our customers.

Our process has become cleaner, we use less energy to produce this collection, it has less construction and color limitations and it costs less.

There is a lot of misinformation out there with regard to "green" or "environmental" products. We encourage you not to accept environmental claims at face value.

Ask all the questions you can and learn more about the raw materials that go into a product, the energy usage, waste water effluent, chemicals used to make or included in the product and the life cycle analysis of the product.

If a manufacturer cannot justify their claims, then should you specify their product?

DesignTex has become a recognized leader in the environmental community. Our fabric has been held as a model and case study at academic institutions around the world and we want future business leaders and other manufacturers to learn from our experience.

We could not have done it on our own, however. It has taken the overwhelming support of the design community and we appreciate that you have continued to specify these fabrics and pushed us to develop even more sustainable products.

It is my hope that all fabrics will be designed in a sustainable fashion in the future. This just makes good sense: good for the earth, good for future generations and good for business.


Tom Hamilton
President, DesignTex Inc.

The William McDonough Collection represents five years of research and investigation into the process of designing fabric led by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry™ (MBDC). This collection marks a tremendous breakthrough in product design. The William McDonough Collection II is the first commercial product to assess a product's materials, chemicals and production processes according to a strict set of design principles and criteria - the McDonough Braungart Sustainable Design Protocol™.

These design efforts go much deeper than those involving conventional recycling. They inform the entire process of product design and development and examine everything that goes into making the product.

Under the McDonough Braungart Sustainable Design Protocol each material component and process step has been designed to meet strict criteria established to eliminate characteristics problematic to human or ecological systems.

We used the effectiveness of natural systems as a model for the design of these new fabrics. Under the MBDC product typology, products should be in "cradle-to-cradle" life cycles and be able to return to soil and/or industry safely--forever.

The William McDonough Collection II is a Product of Consumption™ design and is intended to go back to soil as nourishment for living organisms. In other words, the fabric and its trimmings can be composted at the end of its useful life as upholstery.

We put all components of this collection through "intelligence filters." We analyzed each potential dye and process chemical eliminating any that contain substances known or suspected to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic or bioaccumulative, or disruptive to human or animal endocrine systems. The dyes used in the collection are carefully studied and defined using the McDonough Braungart Sustainable Design Protocol and are not known to possess any of the above characteristics.

The wool and ramie used in this product are organic, natural materials. The blend of these materials is a patented construction known as Climatex® Lifecycle™. This unique combination insulates (wool) and wicks moisture (ramie) away keeping the sitter dry and comfortable.

We have examined every aspect of the production process. The special mill that weaves these fabrics is renowned for its success in environmentally sensitive operations. Regular reviews of the amount of energy and water use, as well as energy and water quality, support the continuous improvement throughout the facility. These efforts combined with the focus on ecologically, socially, and economically effective materials and chemicals have resulted in a profound success unique to this Swiss factory. Government officials have determined that the process water leaving the facility is as clean and pure as the water going into the facility. Swiss drinking water goes in and Swiss drinking water goes out. This is design for the Next Industrial Revolution™.

Unlike most products where waste is created in the processing, there is no waste created during this production process. All byproducts are conceived as products designed to safely return to biological systems. In fact, we use the selvage and trimmings from the fabric to create felt. This felt is used by farmers in Switzerland as ground cover for crops.

The felt controls weeds and insulates the soil instead of using conventional plastic. Gradually the felt decomposes and becomes food for worms and microorganisms.

In the cycles of the natural world, nothing is wasted: everything old becomes food for something new. This simple, safe and successful design concept has governed our living planet since the beginning. However, this concept has not characterized modern industrial production. Most products of modern industry were never designed to go safely into "cradle-to-cradle" life cycles. They were never designed to return safely to natural cycles or to closed-loop industrial cycles.

Recently designers have begun to consider how their products fit within an industrial ecology. Another common agenda has been eco-efficiency -- trying to reduce waste and reduce harm. Building on and going beyond these concepts that are still based on existing materials and methods, William McDonough and Michael Braungart have created a new approach to materials and methods: Eco-effective Design™.

The McDonough Braungart Sustainable Design Protocol provides tangible tools to industry for sustainable product and process design. The following pages summarize these specific principles and criteria-in the context of the William McDonough Collection.

The McDonough Braungart Sustainable Design Protocol is not a certification process. It is an ever-evolving tool for product designers and suppliers to use in a process of optimization and constant improvement toward a rich and hopeful goal: restorative and regenerative products that create value at every step of their life cycle-forever.

This unique approach to product design encourages a more complete understanding of a product's effects upon human and ecological systems. The William McDonough Collection II is the first product to implement a protocol that charts a path toward ecologically, socially and economically effective products-by design. Fundamental to these initiatives are the three McDonough Braungart Design Principles: Waste Equals Food, Use Current Solar Income and Respect Diversity.

Unlike the old "brute force" principle where waste is an acceptable byproduct of industry, the MBDC model promotes product design in an appropriate system depending on type of product, materials used and life cycle characteristics. Byproducts must enter either a biological metabolism or a technical metabolism.



A biological metabolism is defined as a system where a product decomposes and becomes food for other living systems. In this case the material is designed to be safely composted and become soil for gardens and food for microorganisms, worms and plants. The William McDonough Collection II is designed for the biological metabolism.

A technical metabolism is defined as a closed-loop industrial cycle where technical materials, also called technical nutrients, continuously circulate and become new products over and over again.

For example, a television designed for a technical metabolism could be taken apart at the end of its useful life to recirculate the valuable metals, specialty plastics and other materials back into the process for new televisions--forever.

If a design specifies biological nutrients, it is known as a Product of Consumption™ design. If it specifies technical nutrients, it is known as a Product of Service design. Certain products can specify both biological and technical nutrients, only if the design eventually separates and returns the materials to their respective metabolisms.

If a product design specifies material that does not fit into either the biological or technical metabolism, or somehow contaminates these metabolisms, it is called an Unmarketable Product. Unmarketable Products represent a vast source of opportunity for redesign.

From a general design perspective, nature does not mine from the past or borrow from the future to fuel its activities.

It operates on relatively current income in the form of solar energy. Human industry can seek to do the same. Toxic petrochemicals, waste and pollution generating incineration processes and nuclear reactors will be replaced by benign forms of energy production and deregulated customer choice scenarios-especially now with new developments in renewable energy technology emerging every day.

One size does not fit all. To respect diversity means not only to protect biodiversity and ecosystems, but also to solve local problems with local solutions that emphasize and maximize regional, cultural and historical uniqueness. Nature celebrates individuality and interdependence; the more niches, the more productive and delightful the system. All sustainability is local.

To MBDC, these three principles are the most basic underpinnings of sustainable design, but there is, obviously, a broad spectrum of cultural, natural and ecological concerns that need to be addressed when designing balanced, sustainable products and processes. MBDC works with three components to more fully articulate the concerns and enrich their design protocol: Ecology, Equity (Social) and Economy.

Focusing on any single component creates an imbalance that is not sustainable or sustaining. For example, emphasis solely on the economics of manufacture and distribution excludes crucial environmental and social concerns.

However, designing with ecological effectiveness or social equity as the only thing in mind may not render an adequate solution either: the product might not be affordable, accessible, or profitable to manufacture and sell. To address a balanced perspective, the McDonough Braungart Sustainable Design Protocol includes what MBDC calls the Balanced Approach to Design™.

William McDonough Collection is designed to be composted at the end of its useful life as furniture upholstery, making it a Product of Consumption design. MBDC employs specific criteria based on the product's life cycle characteristics (e.g., raw materials, manufacturing process, conditions of use, etc.) to assess proposed components for William McDonough Collection.

The chart (see right) presents all the criteria within which the McDonough Braungart Sustainable Design Protocol examines a Product of Consumption design.

"C T M A D E"







All components must first pass through the X-Filter™ of the Eco-Effective Design Criteria to eliminate any potential design aspects with unacceptable characteristics.

These initial "knock-out criteria" establish a base Positive List of acceptable components upon which constant improvement can occur.

Any component or process that creates conditions identified by the X-Filter as unacceptable ("X substances") are eliminated from further consideration for use in the design. To successfully complete the McDonough Braungart Sustainable Design Protocol analysis and synthesis, a design cannot contain unacceptable substances.

If a product's components and processes pass successfully through the X-Filter, it is then evaluated under the remaining Eco-Effective Design Criteria (see left). The components are then assessed according to what degree they meet the Eco-Effective Design Criteria.

This is healthy product design: for the workers manufacturing the product, for the user of the upholstered chair, and for the earth-the ultimate user of the material. Many companies today make environmental claims about their products. In many cases, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Ask your sales representative about a product's components. Ask questions about the presence of harmful substances in the dyes and process chemicals.

The McDonough Braungart Sustainable Design Protocol recognizes the customer's right to choose products without unexpected-and unwanted-toxic substances. The William McDonough Collection II positively identifies-by design-components and processes that meet its criteria and works to constantly improve the design for future products.

If a company can't answer your questions, or supply the information, you may not be getting the full story. Ask for documents such as the product's Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). Ask if the product contains any substances that are carcinogenic, teratogenic, mutagenic or disruptive to animal or human endocrine systems. Learn all you can about a product's environmental claims. It's the responsible thing to do.

If you are interested in seeing products on this level of quality in the marketplace, then support them in your specifications. There is no better signal to industry to let it know we are encouraging delightful, intelligent, economical and safe design-for all generations, for all time.

For inquiries on The William McDonough Collection, please contact DesignTex at [800] 221-1540.

For inquiries on the McDonough Braungart Sustainable Design Protocol visit our website at

For additional information on ecosmart products please visit

Mark said...

Woven solar panels into textiles.

Solar Panels May Get Five Times More Efficient

TORONTO (CP) -- Researchers at the University of Toronto have invented an infrared-sensitive material that's five times more efficient at turning the sun's power into electrical energy than current methods.

The discovery could lead to shirts and sweaters capable of recharging our cellphones and other wireless devices, said Ted Sargent, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the university.

Sargent and other researchers combined specially-designed minute particles called quantum dots, three to four nanometres across, with a polymer to make a plastic that can detect energy in the infrared.

Infrared light is not visible to the naked eye but it is what most remote controls emit, in small amounts, to control devices such as TVs and DVD players.

It also contains a huge untapped resource -- despite the surge in popularity of solar cells in the 1990s, we still miss half of the sun's power, Sargent said.

"In fact, there's enough power from the sun hitting the Earth every day to supply all the world's needs for energy 10,000 times over," Sargent said in a phone interview Sunday from Boston. He is currently a visiting professor of nanotechnology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Sargent said the new plastic composite is, in layman's terms, a layer of film that "catches" solar energy. He said the film can be applied to any device, much like paint is coated on a wall.

"We've done the same thing, but not with something that just sit there on the wall the way paint does," said the Ottawa native.

"We've done it to make a device which actually harnesses the power in the room in the infrared."

The film can convert up to 30 per cent of the sun's power into usable, electrical energy. Today's [as of 2005, it's much larger now in 2007] best plastic solar cells capture only about six per cent.

Sargent said the advance would not only wipe away that inefficiency, but also resolve the hassle of recharging our countless gadgets and pave the way to a true wireless world.

"We now have our cellphones and our BlackBerries and we're walking around without the need to plug in, in order to get our data," he said.

"But we seem trapped at the moment in needing to plug in to get our power. That's because we charge these things up electrically, from the outlet. But there's actually huge amounts of power all around us coming from the sun."

The film has the ability to be sprayed or woven into shirts so that our cuffs or collars could recharge our IPods, Sargent said.

While that may sound like a Star Trek dream, venture capitalists are keen to Sargent's invention.

Josh Wolfe, managing partner at Lux Capital, a New York City-based venture capital firm, said while such a luxury may be five years away, the technology knows no bounds.

"When you have a material advance which literally materially changes the way that energy is absorbed and transmitted to our devices... somebody out there tinkering away in a bedroom or in a government lab is going to come up with a great idea for a new device that will shock us all," he said in a phone interview.

"When the Internet was created nobody envisioned that the killer app (application) would be e-mail or instant messaging."

Sargent's work was published in the online edition of Nature Materials on Sunday and will appear in its February issue.

2005 Bell Globemedia Inc.

Mark said...

Henry Ford's cheap 'soy wool', half as expensive as sheep wool


"Anything that can be made from hydrocarbons (oil, coal,
natural gas), can be made from carbohydrates (plant material)." - source unknown.

The above quote is again important because it dispels the notion that we are dependent upon fossil fuels (oil, coal, natural gas) for fuels, plastics and chemical feed-stocks in industry.

"Synthetic plastics were practically as old as agriculture itself. They were made in the shadow of the pyramids from cooked starch, and celluloid collars antedated the twentieth century, but it took a world war to disclose their infinite potentialities to American industrialists.

From 1918 on, the chemical industry made greater technological advances than even the automobile or aviation, and the great chemical companies which fed it, by getting in early, rapidly built up fabulous fortunes." (p.323, GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER).

Postcard Copyright 1989 Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, MI

The History Channel on cable television had a special show titled: "PLASTIC."

From this show came this general recipe for celluloid plastic: Cellulose [which is plant material] + Camphor (solvent) + Nitric Acid (NO3)

How does the hemp plant fit into the plastic scheme?

The white hemp hurds (shown left) or sticks left when the fiber has been removed are 77% cellulose and are 6 times the weight of the fiber.

Hemp is the most efficient crop for biomass and cellulose worldwide.


From the series "Speaking of Plastics." 1963. Fry Plastics International. Los Angeles, CA. 56 pages. Book size 8 1/2 X 5 1/2 inches. This booklet I picked up at a plastics store.

"Cellulosics is the pioneer story in the history and growth of the great plastics industry as we see it today...Because of the fact that during the middle of the nineteenth century there was a shortage of ivory from which to make billiard balls, one of the most important and versatile industries was born."

In 1869, the Hyatt brothers, in America, developed Cellulose Nitrate into a workable plastic mass they patented. Called Celluloid it was first used for billiard balls, dental plates, and collars and cuffs for shirts.

One interesting thing in looking at the chemical composition of cellulose is remembering that the carbon (C) of plant material such as cellulose is from carbon dioxide (CO2) pulled from the atmosphere, where excess CO2 from fossil fuel burning has created the greenhouse effect and is causing global warming. When carbon is tied up in cellulose plastic this process actually helps reverse global warming.

TYPICAL APPLICATIONS (1963) mentioned in the Cellulosics book are from 100 different formulations and are among the 50,000 viable industrial uses of the hemp plant.

Toys, lampshades, vacuum cleaner parts, combs, shoe heels...portable radio cases, pipe, tubing, tool handles, appliance housing...telephone hand sets, pens, pencils, edge moldings on cabinets...flashlights, frames, heel covers, fabric coating, outdoor movie speakers, knobs...electrical parts, packaging material, electrical insulation, photographic film, outdoor and indoor signs...telephone wires, steering wheels automobile arm rests, football helmets, pistol machine keys, toothbrush handles, fish net floats, fishing lures, hearing aid parts... optical frames, floor sweeper parts, furniture trim, luggage, military applications.

The greatest agricultural researcher of all time, George Washington Carver got his name from his slave owner's family. He discovered hundreds of useful food stuffs and products using agriculture as his basic resource.

We could use the likes of Carver to research the tens of thousands of uses of hemp.


Soybeans originally traveled to the United States by ship when Samuel Bowen smuggled them from China in 1765.

But it was Henry Ford who put them in cars.

When the Great Depression hit, it hit farmers especially hard. Huge farm surpluses meant low crop prices and dwindling income. All of a sudden, Henry Ford's best customers--American farmers--could no longer afford his cars, trucks and tractors. Ford knew that "if we want the farmer to be our customer, we must find a way to be his."

Figure out a way to use agricultural products in industrial manufacturing, and everyone would benefit. He put his chemists to work determining what products could be developed from plants.

After testing numerous crop plants, they narrowed their focus to soybeans. Experimentation was soon rewarded with the discovery of soybean oil which made a superior auto body enamel. Soybean meal was converted to plastic used to make over 20 parts including horn buttons and gearshift knobs.

By 1936, Ford was using a bushel of soybeans in every car that rolled off the line.

But Henry Ford didn't stop there.

While his chefs developed a variety of tasty and nutritious American-style foods from soy (including ice cream) Henry invented soybean "wool", a fiber half the cost of sheep's wool.

Soon a fabric containing 25% soybean wool was being used to upholster many Ford autos. And on special occasions Mr. Ford would sport a suit made of soybean fiber.

- Our thanks to Bill Shurtleff, Soyfoods Center. On a White Wave carton as pictured at left.

There is of course the rest of the Henry Ford story. He didn't stop with a few car parts, Ford predicted that he would some day "grow automobiles from the soil."

Which he did after 12 years of research.

Henry Ford's plastic car p.99 - HEMP, Lifeline to the Future.

(Left), Popular Mechanics Magazine, Vol. 76, No. 6, December, 1941.

Title: Auto Body Made of Plastics Resists Denting Under Hard Blows. (Text below)

(Left, same 1941 article above).
Henry Ford in straw hat.

Here is the auto Henry Ford "grew from the soil."

Its plastic panels, with impact strength 10 times greater than steel, were made from flax, wheat, hemp, spruce pulp.

(left), Quarter scale model of Ford plastic car and its welded tubular steel frame.

Popular Mechanics, 1941, text: "After twelve years of research, the Ford Motor Company has completed an experimental automobile with a plastic body.

Although its design takes advantage of the properties of plastics, the streamline car does not differ greatly in appearance from its steel counterpart. The only steel in the hand-made body is found in the tubular welded frame on which are mounted 14 plastic panels, 3/16 inch thick.

Composed of a mixture of farm crops and synthetic chemicals, the plastic is reported to withstand a blow 10 times as great as steel without denting. Even the Windows and windshield are of plastic.

The total weight of the plastic car is about 2,000 pounds, compared with 3,000 pounds for a steel automobile of the same size.

Although no hint has been given as to when plastic cars may go into production, the experimental model is pictured as a step toward materialization of Henry Ford's belief that some day he would "grow automobiles from the soil."

"When Henry Ford recently unveiled his plastic car, result of 12 years of research, he have the world a glimpse of the automobile of tomorrow, its tough panels molded under hydraulic pressure of 1,500 pounds per square inch from a recipe that calls for 70 percent of cellulose fibers from wheat straw, hemp, and sisal plus 30 percent resin binder.

The only steel in the car is its tubular welded frame. The plastic car weighs a ton, 1,000 pounds lighter than a comparable steel car. Manufacturers are already talking of a low-priced plastic car to test the public's taste by 1943."

I was making energy pellets for a hemp museum demonstration of the ability of hemp to burn. They were round about 1/2 inch in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. I had an iron fry pan heating and pressed a pellet onto the hot surface with a dowel keeping it in motion. The pellet melted to 1/4 its thickness and looked like plastic (shown left). The branding was done with a hot metal hemp leaf button.

The picture on the left shows the steps in making the plastic like substance to the right. I bought some imported hemp seed oil (left), filled the tall jar half full of the oil. With a cloth cover, I left it in a south window for two years to thicken in the sun.

I then poured the thick oil in a thin layer on a cookie sheet and placed it in the sun for two days for a rubbery plastic sheet.

Topics to write on:

Some special words to look up are Parksine, Bakelite, Celluloid.

Early plastic was created to replace Ivory, Tortoise shell, and other natural substances.

George Washington Carver

Hemp: Lifeline... p. 82, 98,

Mark said...

High end hemp textiles are being made in East Asian countries and in some areas of Europe.

Mark said...

'Textiles' category should be the wider area of clothing--that would include leather.

Ideally, institutionaizing multi-use animals for leather (like the ostrich) would be more beneficial for the raisers involved so they would have balanced market choices to sell.

Ostrich Leather, Strongest Leather, Efficient Procuder to Raise

The market for feathers collapsed after World War I, but commercial farming for feathers and later for skins, became widespread during the 1970s.

Ostriches are farmed in over 50 countries around the world, including climates as cold as that of Sweden and Finland, though the majority are in Southern Africa....

Since they also have the best feed to weight gain ratio of any land animal in the world (3.5:1 whereas that of cattle is 6:1)[citation needed], they are attractive economically to raise for meat or other uses.

Although they are farmed primarily for leather and secondarily for meat, additional useful by-products are the eggs, offal, and feathers.

Male and female ostriches on a farm in New Zealand. It is claimed that ostriches produce the strongest commercially available leather.[13] Ostrich meat tastes similar to lean beef and is low in fat and cholesterol, as well as high in calcium, protein and iron.[14]Uncooked, it is a dark red or cherry red color, a bit darker than beef.[15]

The town of Oudtshoorn in South Africa has the world's largest population of ostriches. Many farms and specialized breeding centres have been set up around the town such as the Safari Show Farm and the Highgate Ostrich Show Farm. The CP Nel Museum is a museum that specializes in the history of the ostrich.


Mark said...

More on mutiple commodity pathways from the same item, always better for grounding particular localities in commodity production as well as encouraging a 'buffered' financial base in case one use is demoted by sale price, other route of sale can be utilized with merely different processing. This conserves the human labor given so it is unwasted.

The banana can be retted like ramie.


The banana plant has long been a source of fibre for high quality textiles. In Japan, the cultivation of banana for clothing and household use dates back to at least the 13th century. In the Japanese system, leaves and shoots are cut from the plant periodically to ensure softness. The harvested shoots must first be boiled in lye to prepare the fibres for the making of the yarn. These banana shoots produce fibres of varying degrees of softness, yielding yarns and textiles with differing qualities for specific uses. For example, the outermost fibres of the shoots are the coarsest, and are suitable for tablecloths, whereas the softest innermost fibres are desirable for kimono and kamishimo. This traditional Japanese banana cloth making process requires many steps, all performed by hand.[10]

In another system employed in Nepal, the trunk of the banana plant is harvested instead, small pieces of which are subjected to a softening process, mechanical extraction of the fibres, bleaching, and drying. After that, the fibres are sent to the Kathmandu valley for the making of high end rugs with a textural quality similar to silk. These banana fibre rugs are woven by the traditional Nepalese hand-knotted methods, and are sold RugMark certified.

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