RCA students develop SaltyCo sustainable fabrics using seawater plants

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Students from the Royal College of Art have made fabrics from plants grown in seawater, providing a potential solution for the currently freshwater-intensive fashion and textile industries. While cotton is notoriously water-hungry, requiring as much as 20,000 litres of freshwater to produce just a kilogram of the material , these fabrics are made from a salt-tolerant plant that thrives in seawater. Insulating jacket liners, faux leather and clothing like t-shirts and trousers could all potentially be made with the fabrics. The students – an interdisciplinary team from the Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art – came together to find a way to tackle the global overconsumption of freshwater. This led to them to the idea of using salt-tolerant plants, and following promising early testing, they are now planning to launch a start-up named SaltyCo to bring their textile products to market. "We were initially shocked by the vast quantities of resources that currently go into the fashion and wider textiles industry, specifically freshwater," SaltyCo’s mechanical engineer Julian Ellis-Brown told Dezeen. "We’ve been pushing our planet to the limit of its resources and are now starting to see the effects of wells drying up, lakes and reservoirs […]

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