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Lan, Susan, 2023. Assessing Textile Raw Materials and Exploring Sustainable Sources for Future Renewable Textile Materials for IKEA of Sweden. Second cycle, A2E. Alnarp: SLU, Dept. of Biosystems and Technology (from 130101)



This degree project at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences has been conducted in
collaboration with IKEA of Sweden.

The textile industry contributes to significant environmental challenges, including pollution and global water scarcity. Heatwaves and droughts are increasing in frequency and intensity, leading to reduced water availability, food insecurity, and land degradation. Water scarcity is a major concern in China and India, where large populations face high water stress and limited access to safe drinking water. Cotton production, the largest natural fiber globally, consumes extensive irrigation water, agrochemicals, and land, resulting in soil erosion, water pollution, and habitat destruction. Synthetic textiles and animal leather production further contribute to environmental contamination and CO2 emissions. Conventional textile practices also result in large amounts of textile waste, with only a small fraction effectively recycled. The man-made cellulosic fiber (MMCF), viscose, has been associated with substantial environmental and social impacts. However, the adoption of sustainable practices, such as utilizing Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified wood sources and employing closed-loop processes like lyocell production, has emerged as a viable strategy for mitigating the drawbacks associated with MMCFs. This thesis investigated sustainable sources for renewable textile materials, utilizing a literature review and analysis of diverse natural raw materials’ production, land occupancy, and water footprint.

It is found that the utilization of recycled products, cotton (rCotton) and viscose, present opportunities for circular production, with potential benefits including reduced waste, carbon emissions, and water consumption, but challenges such as contamination from non-recyclable fibers and degradation of fiber properties need to be addressed. In prolonged drought and heat wave climates, hybrid poplar may be a better option than eucalyptus among fast-growing broadleaves for plantation, since eucalyptus have high flammability. Utilizing agro-waste for textile fibers offers efficient use of cropland. Commodity crop byproducts, corn and corn husks, abundant and affordable, can be used for corn-based polylactic acid (PLA) and corn husk fiber; banana pseudostem can be mechanically processed to fiber, and sugarcane bagasse can be used for producing viscose and lyocell and sugarcane-based foam, which offer eco-friendly alternatives for mattress filling. Coconut coir is well suited for mattresses and brushes use, while buckwheat hulls as filling material for pillows and mattresses. Bamboo is an ideal choice for its rapid growth rate, capability for soil stabilization, efficacy in water purification, and extraordinary carbon sequestration and it can be utilized for rayon and mechanically produced fine fiber. The staple fiber produced by TreeToTextile is sourced from sustainably managed woods and processed via a closedloop system with reduced chemical, energy, and water utilization. All these materials are considered feasible candidates for IKEA’s future innovations in textile applications.

To enhance sustainability, IKEA could replace synthetic fibers with renewable raw materials and prioritize textile fibers from crops with high yield and woods with minimal environmental impacts. This approach contributes to circular production, creates more cropland availability for food cultivation or natural reserves of forests and wetlands, and preserves a healthy ecosphere, particularly in prolonged drought periods. The fibers derived from agriculture byproducts do not need to be strictly confined to the high-yield strategy, as the primary priority remains food production for human sustenance. Given the uncertain, future costs and availability of existing synthetic and natural fibers, IKEA can bolster abundance and price stability by increasing the diversity of textile raw materials it utilizes.

Main title:Assessing Textile Raw Materials and Exploring Sustainable Sources for Future Renewable Textile Materials for IKEA of Sweden
Authors:Lan, Susan
Supervisor:Adler, Anneli and Palmberg, Anna
Examiner:Dubois, Marie-Claude
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2023
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:LM005 Agroecology - Master's programme 120 HEC
Supervising department:(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Biosystems and Technology (from 130101)
Keywords:drought, water scarcity, land degradation, cotton (Gossypium sp.), synthetic textiles, viscose, lyocell, IKEA, agro-waste, poplar (Populus sp.), bamboo ( Bambusoideae), sustainability
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Deposited On:12 Oct 2023 08:06
Metadata Last Modified:05 Feb 2024 13:30

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