Have you ever imagined milk could be used to make a t-shirt?
If it could, what would be the benefit? Is it considered sustainable?
We all know the dairy industry has a dark side – so what would make this piece ecofriendly?
How did Milk become a Textile?
Believe it or not but this trend actually goes back to the 1930’s. Sadly, when synthetics entered the game as they were cheaper and easier to produce milk textile didn’t stand a chance and was rapidly left behind.
Let’s get straight to the point? How is it possible to transform milk from a liquid texture into textile?
#Warm it up until it reaches 50degres
#Add citric acid (Yes the name is scary, but no don’t worry it’s not dangerous)
#Divide the protein casein from the whey
#Secret step (you don’t need to know everything)
And Ta-dah! Textile fibre is made from milk and it apparently smells just like wool!
From this recipe, we realize rapidly that the solid protein called Casein is the secret of transforming this liquid into something solid.
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Are Textiles made from Milk Waste Sustainable?
Milk is used for cheese, ice creams and apparently clothes as well.
We all know the dairy industry has a dark side, so what would make this piece ecofriendly? Let’s see together if this innovative material meets our sustainability criteria
#Is there enough waste?
One of the main questions we should ask ourselves when we talk about materials made from waste is to ensure there is enough waste. We don’t want the milk production to increase and create more waste, right?
Let’s check this point together.
Apparently, 116 tonnes of milk is wasted each per year (EC Euopa). It’s huge because the dairy industry has frequent production spoilage which is responsible for almost half of the milk waste.
Milky my dear you successfully passed this sustainability check!
#What is Milk’s environmental impact?
The milk industry is not considered to be very green. Why?
Well, it requires a lot of land for the cows, water and emits a considerable amount of CO2.
One glass of milk per day for a year is actually equivalent to 703 showers, 229kg of co2 emissions or 941km of driving (BBC).
However, Cotton has also been accused of some of the same consequences. Let’s make a comparison.
To make 1kg of milk fibre requires less than 1 litre of water (says Antonella Bellina, founder DueDiLatte). However, 1kg of milk fibre needs 15 litres of milk, which requires 9,000 litres of water (TRT World).
The water footprint of 1kg of cotton is equal to 10,000 litres of water (The Guardian).
The result is, therefore, the same but in one case we use leftovers and in the other case we create something new.
Is it too cheesey to say we are in love with clothes made from Milk?
#Is it 100% natural?
As we know clothing can have an impact on our skin and on the environment, we want to dig a bit to understand if it is natural.
In the past, milk textile was treated with a toxic chemical called formaldehyde (Textile Today). You don’ t want to wear that, as it is considered to be a possible human carcinogen (Environmental Protection Agency). Don’t worry, it is easy to avoid it by simply going to any item certified by Oeko-Tex.
Milk fibre is considered in general really healthy for the skin as its pH is similar to human skin.
It is Antibacterial and has antiaging properties as it moisturizes the skin (Diagonal View).
Sounds almost perfect. This is the reason why we just want to highlight that natural does not mean vegan. Milk does come from cows and therefore is not appropriate if you have animal wellbeing as a sustainable fashion value.
How dairy make this to us?
What other food waste can be transformed into clothes?
‘’Clean your plate’’. How many times have you heard this sentence? For good reason indeed. 1.3 billion of food is wasted every year (UN Environment). And Even if dairy represents 20% of it, there are other natural wastes that can be upcycled into clothes (The guardian).
Here our favourites and completely vegan alternative to Milk Textile.
Certainly, one of the most famous vegan leathers available out there.
Pinatex, which is made from pineapple leaves. Who could have ever guessed that this byproduct could become more valuable than the pineapple itself?
Want to know more about Pinatex? Head down here!
Want to see what it looks like? Check this bag!
Bananatex, as the name implies, is made from banana waste. From the plant’s stalks exactly. Strong and durable over time, this is certainly a material we want to see more of.
Genius invention to solve the wine industry’s waste. This vegan leather is made from the grape’s skins that remain from wine production.
Have a look at these bags from Alkeme Atelier to see how vegan leather looks in comparison to traditional leather.