After presenting all the other finalists of the clim@ competition for startups organized by the Green for Growth Fund (GGF), Balkan Green Energy News brings you the competition winner –the Netherlands-based Inspidere, whose Mestic, a method of converting cow manure waste into bio-textiles, plastic, and paper stole the show at the grand finale. The solution to the excess manure problem results in the manufacture of sustainable products, particularly for the fashion industry.
Mestic has been developed by Inspidere B.V., whose vision is to provide innovative solutions to high-profile problems by developing the next generation of materials and fibers. Inspidere’s solutions aim to improve the quality of life for customers, the startup says.
Intensive farming in many parts of the world oversaturates the soil with nutrients from manure. This excess manure is an acute problem which needs to be dealt with in order to avoid major environmental catastrophes.
The textile industry has a big ecological footprint as it mainly uses traditional cellulose sources such as wood or cotton. At the same time, issues with health and safety, social security, wages, working hours, and freedom of association and collective bargaining are all jeopardizing human rights in Asia. Furthermore, the processing of textile involves high water and chemical use, with 95% of the industry relying on fossil fuel.
Transformation of cellulose from manure into useful materials
Mestic is a method that utilizes and transforms the cellulose from manure into useful materials such as bio-plastics and textiles. With this solution, Inspidere not only solves the current manure problem, but also introduces a locally produced material, useful for the manufacturing and the textile industry. This reduces dependency on production in faraway countries, which in some cases have ethically questionable practices such as child labor.
The fraction of manure that is not used for producing paper or fabrics is concentrated with minerals. In terms of energy use for production, this is a viable competitor to oil-based artificial fertilizers.
Connecting two enormously polluting industries
With Mestic, Inspidere connects two enormously polluting industries, the textile industry and the agricultural sector.
By solving two major environmental problems with one single solution significant greenhouse gas reductions can be achieved: an average 150-gram T-shirt made using the method will reduce 1 kg of CO2 equivalent compared to current-day practices.
A sustainable source for fashion
The implementation of Mestic turns the global manure problem into a new sustainable and local source of raw biodegradable materials and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Inspidere’s initial focus is on the textile industry (also one of the most polluting industries), more specifically the fashion industry. Most of the major brands in fashion have set goals to be 100% sustainable by 2030. Yet there is no sustainable fiber that can be produced in bulk and meet this demand. With Mestic, however, this is possible, as there is enough cellulose locked away in manure to replace the entire textile and paper industry.
Director and founder of Inspidere BV is Jalila Essaïdi (born 1980). She is a Dutch artist and entrepreneur based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Essaïdi is specialized in the fields of bio-based materials and biological arts (bio-art). She is best known for her work dubbedBulletproof Skin, spider silk reinforced in vitro human skin. With Mestic, she won the H&M foundation’s Global Change Award 2016, the Chivas Venture in 2018, and the Global Change Award in 2018.