Don’t waste milk because it might end becoming a new fashion fabric
German Qmilch IP GmbH makes use for discarded milk in a fabric
Qmilk is a new fibre based on milk protein casein, and by using an efficient and ecological manufacturing process, the casein fibres are produced using renewable and natural resources and less chemical ingredients during the process. The fabric offers a silky feel and makes it a desirable fabric for high fashion, particularly for consumers interested in ecology, as well as in the economic and social responsibility supporting the fashionable collections.
The fibres are not restricted for use in clothing, but they can be applied also to automotive and medical sectors, because they can be used for thermal insulated seat covers of hygienic diaphragms. Qmilk uses a waste product from the dairy industry. More than two million tons of milk is discarded every year in Germany for not meeting the criteria as drinking milk. This raw milk is not useable in the food sector but has a good potential as a valuable and renewable ingredient for the time being insufficiently utilised.
Qmilk fibres can be categorised like protein fibres in silk and wool, and allow to combine the benefits of natural and industrial fibres. Casein, the milk protein, is based on 18 of 22 known proteinogenic amino acids and has a very high glutamine and calcium content. At about 20 %, no other protein equals with casein.
Due to the fibres smooth surface, made of fabrics can naturally prevent skin irritations, but it is not limited to that, because Qmilk fibre can be modified in its optics and properties for many textile surfaces. It does not require antibacterial treatment and is has natural antibacterial agents against E.coli and even Staphyllococcus aureaus. It is resistant to fuels, making it suitable for a broad range of textile products and sectors. The fibre takes up colour easily and dyeing is possible during the process. It has a soft hand, is naturally lightweight, machine washable and temperature stability is up to 200 °C. It fulfils B2 standard flammability test and is resistant to UV rays. The fibre mixes well with other fibres, a blend of 20 % with other textile fibres improves a fabrics performance and permits unique combinations of performance characteristics. Qmilk fibre production will start in 2014 with a first mill installation and a production capacity of 1000 t annually.
The new fibre is an excellent example that the benefits of natural and manmade fibres can be achieved with resource saving and eco friendly production based on waste products. Exactly what a Circular Economy is requiring (see TextileFuture Newsletter of today)