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Cotton News / Technical Textiles

Cotton Nonwovens are USDA Certified as BioPreferred

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November 20 2012

Cotton Nonwovens are USDA Certified as BioPreferred

Cotton nonwovens were recently certified by USDA’s BioPreferred Program as being a “bio-based” product. The BioPreferred Program is a USDA initiative which seeks to increase the purchase and use of bio-based products made from renewable plant or animal materials.

“Cotton is much more than a sustainable, renewable fiber and we’re delighted nonwovens containing cotton have been officially recognized as a bio-based product by USDA’s BioPreferred® Program,” explains Jan O’Regan, Director, Strategic Initiatives for Cotton Incorporated. Defined by the 2002 Farm Bill, bio-based products are commercial or industrial products which are composed in whole or part of biological products, renewable agricultural or forestry materials.

“Although many may consider it a given that cotton would be considered certified by the BioPreferred Program, according the program specifications, products that were available on the market prior to 1972 do not presently qualify,” adds O’Regan. Nonwovens are a huge use market for fibers – over 7.31 million metric tons in 2011. The $26.4 billion dollar industry registers disposable nonwovens as the largest end user. But of late, growth in durable nonwovens is outpacing that of disposables.

Cotton is poised to capture a larger share of the fiber market in nonwovens thanks to T J Beall, a long-standing company based in Greenwood, MS that produces a premium natural cotton fiber directed towards the nonwovens industry called UltraClean®. Company spokesperson Lawson Gary explains, “T J Beall has been supplying a non-scoured, non-bleached, 100% natural cotton fiber, as well as cotton by-products, to nonwovens textile and textile-related industries for over 75 years.” Through their textile processing plant in the Mississippi Delta, T J Beall Company processes cotton using no water, chemicals or process heat. “These unbleached fibers allow processing at comparable line speeds just like any other synthetic cellulosic fiber,” adds Gary.

“T J Beall is a small company that has invested in proprietary technology and put significant effort into refining the process and producing a quality, cotton fiber product,” adds O’Regan. The UltraClean® process also capitalizes on the preservation of the naturally-occurring waxes and oils on the sheath of cotton’s fibers - the same fibers that are held to the same rigorous FDA standards as food crops.

“Cotton plants provide a range of fiber products depending on what end product is targeted and since they are hypoallergenic, they are safe for any skin contact,” explains O’Regan. Cotton Incorporated’s nonwovens marketing and research began in 2005 and has brought a variety of cotton-rich nonwoven.

Source: Cotton 24/7

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