Sustainable stitching squeezed from Sicily’s oranges

  Waste from juiced Sicilian oranges is now being made into sustainable clothes. Adriana Santonocito, a former design student in Milan, had the idea in 2011 to use the abundant […]

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By Jonny Bairstow
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Waste from juiced Sicilian oranges is now being made into sustainable clothes.

Adriana Santonocito, a former design student in Milan, had the idea in 2011 to use the abundant amount of orange rinds generated in her native city of Catania to create environmentally friendly textiles.

Many thousands of tonnes of citrus fruit are juiced every year, leaving behind massive amounts of waste – this is usually thrown away or fed to cattle.

It was already known that cellulose could be extracted from orange rinds but Ms Santonocito discovered it could be turned into yarn using chemical reagents, which could be dyed and blended with other textiles, such as cotton or polyester.

She patented the idea and together with a university colleague, founded Orange Fiber in 2014 and set about selling the silk-like material to clothes manufacturers.

They now head up a team of 12 people and have recently had their product used by famous Italian fashion label Salvatore Ferragamo, which wanted to make its high-end shirts and dresses more sustainable.