Demanda tecnològica: Strong sewing thread made of compostable material

A Swiss company has launched its first compostable clothing line. In order to achieve compostability for a piece of clothing, the guidelines for design and production are very strict. As a consequence of these guidelines, the company is looking for a sewing thread with the strength and properties of polyester. The company is seeking partners who have the know-how for this kind of sewing thread.

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A Swiss company recently launched its first compostable clothing line with t-shirts, pants and shirts. In order to achieve compostability for a piece of clothing, the guidelines for design and production had and have to be very strict. They managed to find a compostable sewing thread, but up to this day it is not as strong as a standard polyester sewing thread.

They are now looking for know-how or technologies with properties and strength matching polyester. The technology or know-how to apply should not compromise on the compostability of the clothes.

The existing clothing line has following characteristics:

Grown in Europe

The fabric is made from bast and cellulose fibres grown in Europe like Tencel or Modal, a cellulose fiber produced from raw material wood or wood pulp designed to minimize environmental impact. Producing these native fibres protects the soil and requires much less water than cotton which is easier to process.

Other fibres fitting the same criteria (low footprint, European, biodegradable) would be possible. Plant-based fibres are preferred and production has to be in Europe according to the concept of sustainable development of the company.

Short transport routes

Compared to common textiles, the path from fibre to product is a short trip. The various production steps for the fabric take place at a distance of maximum 2’500 kilometres (1’600 miles) from Zurich.

Not toxic

While flax and hemp cultivation requires almost no pesticides, they also use as few chemicals as possible when further processing bast fibres. The company avoids bleaching altogether. This means that the fabric may also be recommended for babies and infants without any restrictions. This is the conclusion reached by Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 (product class I), an independent control and certification system.

Factory proof

Fabrics and garments have to be long-lasting and sturdy. The Swiss company uses it as workwear in the factory and also at the bar after work. The employees subjected all fabrics and products to strict testing, also taking style into account.

For the compost

The fabric satisfies the toughest factory requirements and yet is 100 % biodegradable in compost within just a few months.

Background of the company

The company is design driven and a pioneer in its area. Several products of their other product line are exposed in well-known museum collections. Products can be purchased world-wide.


The company is looking for partners or research partners who have either the know-how or are willing to develop it together with the company respectively with a thread producing company.

The company believes that the solution could come from the textile sector but more likely from other industries like e.g. bioplastics.

Following cooperation types might be considered:

- Commercial agreement with technical assistance: with a partner that offers the suitable solution

- Technical cooperation agreement: with a partner who has a solution which has to be adapted to the requirements of the Swiss company

- Research cooperation agreement: with a research partner to develop the solution as no existing solution is available

Referència:  TRCH20160706001

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