Sicilian oranges – from waste to fabric, flour and fuel

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BY KAVIMALAR DEVARAJ

Former design student in Milan, Adriana Santonocito, found an innovative way of converting the largely produced orange rinds in her native city of Catania, Sicily, into environment-friendly textiles. This method enables tonnes of orange waste to be recycled into fibre that can be made into clothes.

The problem statement in her university dissertation, ‘Could a luxurious silk foulard be made from citrus by-products, that would otherwise be thrown away or fed to cattle?’ was the inspiration that led to Santonocito’s concept. After subsequent laboratory experiments, she found her answer, which then also earned her a patent.

Santonocito turned the readily extracted cellulose from orange rinds into yarns using chemical reagents. The yarns could then be dyed and blended with other fabrics such as cotton or polyester.

Following that, the 39-year old, together with a colleague, Enrica Arena,