Methane, or waste methane that comes from landfills, is much more potent than carbon dioxide and a massive environmental hazard.
In California, the company Mango Materials is using waste methane to feed a certain type of bacteria that eats methane and develops a biodegradable form of polyester fiber. When the methane is consumed, they produce a type of plastic that can be spun into a thread called polyhydroxyalkanoate, or PHA.
This type of biological polyester can be reused multiple times, even after garment production. Unlike other fibers that release harmful microfibers into waterways, this bio-polyester does not release anything and if it does, it biodegrades harmlessly. For example, an entire T-shirt could fall into the ocean and the sea life could digest it easily.
By using the waste methane, we will be reducing the amount of chemicals in the air, so it’s a win-win situation with the production of clothing and cleaning of the atmosphere. PHA can also be used to make other plastic-containing items, like packaging boxes, but for now, it’s the textile industry that is taking action with this new fiber with a few industries testing out the process today, allowing us to be fashionable and environmentally friendly!
Would you wear a shirt made from methane-eating bacteria?