Waste to Wear.
Developing fabric from cannabis waste to conserve resources for future generations.
A UCSB Bren School of Environmental Science & Management Masters Thesis Project.
When you consider that 5.3 billion people are projected to enter the global middle class by 2030, it’s reasonable to assume that the rate at which we are consuming resources is increasing. Specifically for the apparel industry, resource consumption is projected to triple by 2050. The apparel industry needs a more sustainable way to meet this growing demand.
Although there are environmental impacts at every phase of the apparel supply chain, the largest impact of any given garment comes from the production of raw materials. Manmade cellulosics – referred to as MMCs and most commonly known as viscose, rayon, or lyocell – are extruded from wood pulp. Approximately 120 million trees are logged each year for MMC production. This number is projected to double by 2025.
In the United States, cannabis — both marijuana and hemp — is harvested for seed, flower, and leaf. The stalk comprises 90% of the total biomass and is considered a waste. Farmers either burn this waste or send it to the landfill at a rate of approximately 1,000,000 pounds per week here in California. Some farmers are beginning to sell this byproduct to oil-extractors. Extractors use CO2 extraction to remove valuable oils from the waste.
Cannabis concentrate (CBD/THC oil) is the fastest growing segment of the cannabis industry. The resulting waste of this process is a dry, de-gummed pulp. A typical oil extraction facility produces over a ton of waste per week, and producers are legally required to have a waste management plan. They are paying for waste collection services. The Hurd Co will generate revenue from waste pickup.
By replacing raw feedstock with a waste stream, The Hurd Co reduces the carbon footprint of one average t-shirt by 1.25 kg CO2 equivalent at the sourcing phase when compared to traditional viscose. That’s a 16% reduction from traditional viscose and a 3% reduction from “sustainable” MMCs. The Hurd Co’s Biscose™ pulp will reduce threats to biodiversity, climate change, human rights, and water and soil pollution.
Clothes Tell a Story
People use clothes to express themselves. A person’s style is an expression of their values, their community, and their story. Consumers want to wear their sustainable values on their sleeve. Apparel brands want to capture the growing market of “sustainable” consumers. The Hurd Co provides an environmentally- and socially- motivated narrative to brands with material made from agricultural waste.