A supporter of ABC’s Sustainable Herbs Program, Euromed has initiated a project to utilise production waste from saw palmetto berries. The leading producer of standardised herbal extracts has joined forces with Archroma, a global colour company that has developed a technology to create biosynthetic textile dyes derived from natural waste in the agriculture and herbal industries.

Saw palmetto is vulnerable to commercial exploitation. To make full use of the plant and to close the usage circle of the intense labour involved, Euromed focused on ideas for upcycled products such as dyes from nature using the remaining residues of the fruit extraction.

Archroma recycles biomass waste material to create natural colours for the textile industry and has launched a line of patented dyes called EarthColors®. In this project, waste products from Euromed’s saw palmetto extraction are used to develop ecological dyes that are fully traceable via smart tags attached to each item of clothing. Up to 90% of the raw material comes from the remaining saw palmetto biomass, which makes the maximum possible use of the whole plant. The waste management cost savings and lower transportation costs are modest but increasing, and show that the model works.

Andrea Zangara, scientific marketing manager at Euromed, says: “Companies are increasingly talking about ‘Zero Waste’ and finding alternative packaging, but there hasn’t been much attention so far to the role of waste in growing, harvesting and post-harvest handling in the botanical industry. This project shows an innovative upcycle approach towards waste, and it is important to address waste management at any level. With a good plan and determination, even small initiatives are able to contribute to promoting a stronger culture of environmental respect and sustainability.”

Euromed continues to research the further use of waste material from biomass extraction for dyes from nature, and investigates other innovative, eco-friendly waste management solutions.