Waste turned fab­ric

South Waikato News - - RURAL -

Up­hol­stery fab­ric that blends New Zealand wool with Chi­nese ri­ce­pro­duc­tion waste prod­uct will be sold in the United States next year.

The fab­ric has been devel­oped in Welling­ton by The Formary, which spe­cialises in trans­form­ing postin­dus­trial waste into in­no­va­tive prod­ucts. The fab­ric is made from 70 per cent New Zealand wool and 30 per cent rice straw.

Dur­ing a busi­ness del­e­ga­tion visit to China last year, led by Welling­ton Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, con­nec­tions were made with the Chi­nese Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, which wanted new ways to re­cy­cle the mil­lions of tonnes of rice straw be­ing burnt ev­ery har­vest, cre­at­ing pol­lu­tion and vis­i­bil­ity prob­lems.

The Formary, which pre­vi­ously made a sim­i­lar prod­uct by re­cy­cling jute cof­fee sacks with wool for Star­bucks’ chair cov­er­ings, is work­ing with a part­ner in Welling­ton’s Chi­nese sis­ter city, Tian­jin, which is sup­ply­ing the rice straw.

"We pre­sented the pro­to­type to our Chi­nese part­ner Grand Peak in June and they wanted us to roll it out at the [Oc­to­ber 2012] har­vest but that was too soon. We’re look­ing at Septem­ber or Oc­to­ber 2013," The Formary di­rec­tor Ber­nadette Casey said. "A dis­trib­u­tor in the States is re­quest­ing ex­clu­siv­ity of the fab­ric with­out even see­ing it but that will also be on the back of our project with Star­bucks."

The fab­ric was no more ex­pen­sive to pro­duce than stan­dard wool- blend up­hol­stery ma­te­ri­als.

Fairfax NZ

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