Every second, a garbage truck of textiles is exiled to landfills or incinerated. In Africa, fast-fashion is an especially problematic pollutant that impacts both human health and the environment. This project reimagines a new circular system that turns readily available agricultural waste into a new type of biodegradable, soil-enriching fabric. Made using maize husk residue, Rethread Africa’s textile solution was designed to last longer than its conventional counterparts, while using fewer resources and actually
regenerating nature. Specifically, it uses 99% less water than cotton, reduces CO2 emissions by 80%, and eutrophication by 51%. By creating new value out of an existing agricultural product, it also creates new jobs and enables smallholder farmers to increase their income by 40%. At the same time, the use of locally sourced materials helps to promote cultural pride and support the work of local creatives. Currently, Rethread Africa is also working on a new high-performance textile derived from water hyacinth. Bringing these alternatives to market could potentially lead to a reduction in the demand for traditional textile materials, which may help to minimize the environmental impacts associated with their production.