Friday, August 04, 2006


During my websurfing, I've discovered bits and pieces about this new product made from corn fibers. It's called Ingeo. Having a passion for recycling and fibers, this completely intrigued me.

According to a number of press releases, this product can be made into totally sustainable/ recyclable cloth or yarn. There is already Ingeo yarn available at Southwest Trading and lots of Ingeo roving available for spinners on commercial sites as well as Ebay.

Sounds great, right? I asked for access to the Ingeo "online product library" to find out more and was tersely emailed that only reps from big companies ("preferred partners") are granted the golden keys. With over a year of marketing and press releases about this stuff, I started wondering why it isn't flooding the market yet. The Ingeo website above is terribly secretive and vague.

Hours of online frustration were ended by a blog search of the word. Leave it to Bloggers to come out with what's really going on with this project. Some of the gazillion crafters on the Internet inform us that this fiber melts at 160 degrees F, so cannot be ironed or even washed in hot water. Spinners love spinning it, but apparently it doesn't knit up well. It also smells of corn syrup. For those of us with an acute olfactory sensory apparatus, this just won't do.

Apparently Patagonia was all set to use Ingeo until it learned that the corn being used is genetically engineered. Patagonia, famous for using fleece made from recycled plastic bottles, refuses to use genetically engineered anything, even for clothing.

Europeans refuse to have anything to do with FrankenFood (genetically engineered plants). I can't blame them. They know from centuries of experience how making changes that can't be reversed can wreak havoc on the entire planet. We in the U.S.A. "just do it".

I have ordered a tank top made from Ingeo, just to see what it feels like. But for my own uses, I'll stick with the tried and truly sustainable favorites: wool, organic cotton, linen and recycled acrylic fabric and yarns.

Far more hopeful is knit apparel made from bamboo. I bought a bamboo tank top at the Green Festival last year and it has remained soft and sturdy.

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