25 Jan 2013

Strong US interest in new rice fabric

1:16 pm on 25 January 2013

A Wellington product development company is getting strong interest from potential customers in the United States in a new furnishing fabric that will be made from New Zealand wool blended with rice straw.

The Formary is the company that transformed Starbucks jute coffee sacks blended with wool into a new upholstery fabric.

It's negotiating with Chinese government officials to manufacturer the rice straw-wool fabric in China using some of the hugh amounts of waste straw left over from the annual rice harvest there.

Managing director Bernadette Casey said the fabric has been further refined with the help of Massey University scientists and she hopes to start commercial production this year.

Meanwhile, a European manufacturer is producing the Wojo coffee sack wool fabric, which will go to market this year.