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Exploiting the benefits of milkweed

Hollow part of the fibre stores air and maintains temperature.

19th January 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Canada

Sports/​Outdoor, Sustainable

Vegeto, a Canadian leader in the sustainable production and processing of plant textile fibres, is launching a high performance milkweed insulation material for the outdoor clothing and equipment market, notably jackets, handwear and sleeping bags.

“This new insulation material fills a gap in the textile industry – a plant-based, ecofriendly insulation textile that makes no compromise on performance,” said Ghyslain Bouchard, Vegeto’s general manager. “Conceived and produced in Canada, it does not rely on the usual model of using animal-sourced or petroleum-based products. We are sowing the seeds of change for the entire garment and textile industry.

“A study of the milkweed fibre’s properties revealed that its tubular form makes it an excellent thermal insulation material. The hollow part of the fibre stores air and maintains temperature. It’s this natural characteristic, which synthetic materials try to reproduce, that inspired us to create our milkweek insulation textile.”

The nonwoven laminated textile insulation is a mix of milkweed and kapok fibres and a biopolymer made from corn starch. Testing conducted at an independent laboratory (CTT Group) confirms the product’s exceptional thermal insulation properties. The CLO value ranges from 2.5 to 4.5, depending on the weight of the chosen product – from 100 to 250gsm.

This weight range meets insulation needs for mild spring weather as well as for winter’s colder temperatures.

“We want to work with manufacturers who share our business philosophy,” Bouchard added. “What Vegeto has accomplished sets the pace for the industry and we hope to get manufacturers on board and inspire them to explore further, off the beaten path.”

Vegeto has succeeded in developing a field to fibre transformation process that meets the ever-growing demand for sustainable raw materials. Past investments in the development of machinery have today led to the efficient processing of plants into textile fibres and the company has the capacity to produce unique, high performance textile blends.

Although widely common in Canada, milkweed and its virtues remain rather unknown. Vegeto is working with Canadian farmers to harvest a stable milkweed crop meeting textile-grade standards. Growing demand for the indigenous plant is leading the company to consolidate more and more partnerships with farmers to ensure long term supply.

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