In 2023, IFG celebrates the ten year anniversary of the launch of PLA, which kick started the journey to a sustainable future.

The world has changed a lot in that time. At 2013’s TechTextil show, we presented IFG`s first fibres made from PLA (Polylactide), a renewable raw material.

Polylactide (PLA) is a polyester based on renewable raw materials such as sugar cane or corn. The material, which is made up of lactic acid molecules, is one of the few biodegradable plastics.

The feedback at the show was varied, ranging from ‘fantastic’ to ‘interesting’ and some less positive: ‘why do we need this?!’

At that time, admittedly, the price / performance ratio wasn’t optimal, as can often be the case with products that are ahead of their time. We were convinced that the market would catch up, especially when they realised the environmental benefits, so we continued to develop the range and research and improve the products’ features.

In the end, it was a further six years before we achieved the first major market success. This was mainly attributed to developing societal thoughts around sustainability: it became a growing requirement for both consumers and corporations, and customers were willing to pay a higher price for those products that had a lesser environmental impact.

In today’s market this trend continues and has gathered momentum. There are now numerous applications for PLA, including: yarns and textiles, fine and short-cut fibres for speciality papers, and nonwovens for landscaping and home gardening.

IFG have only scratched the surface of applications for PLA. We continue to expand the product range, and our team are constantly researching additional options for sustainable, compostable and biodegradable fibres as part of our ongoing commitment to a sustainable future.