Building a Sustainable Future

Examining smart and environmentally friendly technologies and methods, such as biodiesel, green buildings, natural power, energy efficient appliances and many others that take a minimal toll on the environment, in order to inform and help make our future a sustainable one.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sustainability on the farm?

Just in: How does wearing chicken feathers or rice straw sound? It may not be all tar-and-feathers like you think, as Physorg would have us believe:

Of Rice and Hen: Fashions from the Farm from

In the future, it might be perfectly normal to wear suits and dresses made of chicken feathers or rice straw. But don’t worry: These clothes won’t resemble fluffy plumage or hairy door mats. Scientists at the University of Nebraska –Lincoln plan to develop these agricultural waste products into conventional-looking fabrics as a way to reduce the use of petroleum-based synthetic fabrics.


Reading a little later through the article, it mentions that:

With millions of tons of chicken feathers and rice straw available worldwide each year, these agricultural wastes represent an abundant, cheap and renewable alternative to petroleum-based synthetic fibers, Yang says.

The interesting thing though, is why are there millions of tons of chicken feathers available? My guess is that they come from factory farm slaughter of the birds. While of course many may come from laying hens, it's likely that chickens about to be slaughtered give up more feathers.

If these above assumptions are correct, or close, it may well be that the values of recycling the chicken feathers into garments outweigh the tremendous environmental costs of running the factory farms in general. Such an approach would be more sustainable, but still short of the potential which could be achieved by eliminating the factory farm altogether.

However, the idea of rice straw seems interesting, and possibly an alternative form of clothing or fabric that could be used around the world to create sustainable clothing solutions for more financially limited groups of people. Further,

Chicken feathers and rice straw also could become “green” fabrics used in carpets, automobiles, building materials and a host of other everyday applications — all at potentially less cost and with novel and sometimes superior properties than their synthetic counterparts, the researchers say.

This could result in a reduced environmental cost in terms of reduced chemical waste and biproducts from other methods which currently processes materials for carpets, automobiles, etc, which might lead to overall longer-term sustainability. As with many things, I suppose, time, and innovation will lead to more sustainable goods.

Categories: Factory-farms, Clothing,Farming


Post a Comment

<< Home