Today, most outdoor functional textiles are primarily made of petroleum-based synthetics such as polyester and polyamide. Sustainable alternatives have usually been accompanied by a loss of comfort or performance. But it's time to change this paradigm. The outdoor specialist VAUDE is implementing its "Forward to Nature" approach in product development. Together with the company Evonik, VAUDE has developed a biobased polyamide that is largely derived from castor oil plants. 62 % of the polyamide comes from the beans of the castor oil plant. For the first time, this biopolyamide (PA 6.10) under the brand name Vestamid Terra offers both a more sustainable and more efficient alternative to conventional petroleum-based synthetic materials. The advantages compared to conventional polyamide yarn in figures:
- 7 % lighter
- 28 % higher fiber strength
- 50 % more elastic
- 49 % less moisture absorption
For pioneers of sustainability
The Skarvan Biobased Pants are a real innovation in terms of material and sustainability. Their biobased polyamide increases their durability and significantly minimizes their ecological footprint. Above all, the fiber's low moisture absorption pays off – for example when hiking through the grass in the fresh morning dew, during short rain showers, but also in shorter drying times after washing.
The pants feature high stretch yet retain their shape and, with the flexible waistband and slightly articulated knees, are ideally suited for active fresh-air fanatics. Features include two side slide-in pockets and one zip pocket on the leg and on the seat for important small items. The VAUDE Green Shape label stands for environmentally friendly, functional products made from sustainable, bluesign® certified materials.
The pants will be available starting in Summer 2021 in women's and men's versions.
"Biobased synthetics will change the development of plastics dramatically."
René Bethmann works as VAUDE's Innovation Manager and sees enormous potential in the new material. "Biobased plastics are relatively new in the sports industry, especially in textiles. With this innovative textile fiber made of biopolyamide, we are bringing a sustainable alternative with better performance properties to the market for the first time. We hope that sustainable products will have a significant influence on the performance standard of outdoor products in the future. They will help create attention and trust. It is important to understand that sustainability and high performance are not mutually exclusive. Sustainability is key and it's becoming more and more routine with products such as these. Changes in consumer behavior will guide the entire industry towards more sustainable solutions in the future."
Ecological advantages – innovation from the bean
The castor oil plant doesn't require fertilization or artificial irrigation, survives periods of drought, and is usually grown in dry areas not otherwise destined for any other form of agriculture, so it doesn't compete with land for food production.
The CO2 footprint of biopolyamides is also significantly lower than in the production of conventional polyamide. According to Evonik's calculations, this is only half of what it would be if the carbon storage from growing the castor oil plant were taken into account.
Environmental impact in figures
By using biobased raw materials we can reduce the burden on our environment in a variety of ways:
Production > Castor bean plants are mainly cultivated in India and China. No extra irrigation is necessary for cultivation, no pesticides or GMOs are used. > As a pioneer plant, castor oil plants grow in very poor soils and don't compete with other forms of agricultural production.
Biopolyamide PA 6.10 62 % biobased from renewable raw materials Carbon footprint: 4.6 kg CO2eq* Conventional polyamide PA 6 fossil based carbon footprint: 9 kg CO2eq*
*Source: Evonik Industries AG, internal calculations with PE Int. Databank (Oct 2010)
Vestamid Terra by Evonik