Thanks to the ground breaking technology developed by Ploughboy Organics, the tobacco plant has been transformed into a renewable resource - creating dyes and fibres/textiles for use in the clothing and interiors industries which are not only more cost effective, but also completely non-toxic. The revolutionary new products are set to be launched tomorrow at the London Textile Fair.
Suzanne and her team have developed specialized equipment which requires a fraction of the water used by conventional dyes and leaves almost no toxic waste by-products in the environment. It also eliminates the need to purify the toxic water expelled by conventional dye processes. The use of the whole tobacco plant also provides a huge waste reduction opportunity. As only the leaves are used for the smoking industry, 9 million tonnes of tobacco waste was discarded in North Carolina alone last year.
The complexity of the technology hasn’t impacted on the choice of shades available either, as Ms DeVall has developed a palette of over 30 vibrant colours. Her extensive research also found that the tobacco plant could be used not only as a dye, but also a fibre that can be blended with other natural fibres such as cotton, wool, silk and cashmere to name a few.
Ploughboy Organics have an overriding commitment to sustainable agricultural processes and responsible manufacturing, and source their tobacco from small, independent and certified organic tobacco farmers in the southern region of the USA. They have plans to repurpose tobacco in many other areas of the world in the future.
Suzanne said, “We’re passionate about creating low cost organic dyes and fibre for the global marketplace using raw materials that are free from chemical agents and pesticides. Whilst the tobacco plant wouldn’t necessarily spring to mind as an ethical source, I have spent 30 years researching and exploring the possibilities and am delighted to finally be launching these products into the global marketplace.”