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Invasive plants could be turned into textiles, research shows

Invasive plant being picked for research
Invasive plant being picked for research Copyright Joana Luz/Atelier Luma
Copyright Joana Luz/Atelier Luma
By Doloresz Katanich with AFP
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A laboratory in Marseille, France is looking for ways to mix design and biology.


Invasive plant species could be recycled into paper, yarn and eco-friendly textile dyes, research by Atelier Luma, a think tank in Arles, France, has found.

The research began when the laboratory partnered with Parc des Calanques in Marseille. The park is uprooting many exotic and invasive plant species as part of an effort to improve biodiversity.

Invasive plant species spread quickly and can displace native plants, preventing their growth. This reduces plant species diversity. One of these species in Marseille, called Agave sisalana, is native to southern Mexico.

"We are transforming the agavas into different materials: the fibre would be transformed into yarn, and the pulp into different types of glue, paper, etc," said Axelle Gisserot, project manager at Atelier Luma.

Plants have already been turned into natural dyes at the laboratory. "We are working on opening a bigger dye laboratory in Arles, France which would specialise in natural dyes", said Gisserot. It is hoped it could also serve as a hub for small production.

The laboratory is planning to collaborate with more regional parks to experiment on uprooted invasive plants.

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