The fashion for rice scraps
New applications of the rice industry in fashion and architecture

Did you know that Italy is the queen of rice production in Europe? At 1.5 million tons per year, it guarantees 50 percent of the EU’s entire rice production, for which it is the leading supplier, with a range of varieties and level of quality unique in the world.

Currently, the Italian rice industry is also facing the challenge of sustainability, focusing on technological innovation and circular economy. Since rice constitutes a nutritional staple, it becomes important to find new solutions to manage the waste from its production in a more sustainable way. In fact, these can be an invaluable source for the creation of new products, even of a non-food nature. Some Italian companies are already working in this direction, achieving exciting results. Prominent among them are Fiscatech from Lombardy and RiceHouse from Piedmont, to whom we owe the recent invention of an innovative sustainable fabric made from rice waste: RICESKIN.

Photo: Fiscatech and Ricehouse

RICESKIN and the rice husk

Fiscatech, a leading company in the leather and textile industry, proudly presented its new fabric called RICESKIN at the LINEAPELLE 2022 exhibition. The main component of RICESKIN is the husk, which is the multilayered casing that covers the freshly harvested rice grain, and which constitutes one of the largest wastes in the rice industry. The husk is used to produce A coated fabric that, combined with a biobased binder, is applied to both cotton and certified fabrics
, all of which are controlled by the

Composed of more than 90 percent organic materials, RICESKIN finds application in various areas of fashion, from shoe and bag production to leather clothing and accessories. But this innovative solution is also suitable for exploitation in other areas of design, such as bookbinding, furniture and the automotive industry.

The innovative fabric does not require the use of synthetic dyes or solvents, but is based on natural pigments derived from specific rice varieties, such as beige for white rice, black for Venus rice, and red for Hermes rice. It is therefore a product that fully embraces the view of sustainability.

The RICESKIN project was made possible by Fiscatech’s collaboration with an Italian startup, RiceHouse, which has made the valorization of waste from rice cultivation and processing its goal.

Photo: Ricehouse

RiceHouse and the rice straw

Before the launch of RICESKIN, RiceHouse had already made a name for itself by developing some innovative building materials made from rice waste. Among them is the “rice straw net”, produced precisely from rice straw, another substantial residue of rice production, now considered by many to be the new “sustainable brick.”

Much cheaper than concrete, rice straw is a lightweight and durable material that is normally used as thermal and acoustic insulation in building walls. Biodegradable, easy to handle and work with, it also features great breathability. It also has reduced costs in terms of fuel energy for collection, packaging and transportation.

The future of rice waste

Using waste from rice production is proving to be an important step toward more sustainable fashion and architecture. Accepting the challenge of sustainability in rice production means taking a creative approach, to be able to see beyond the known and realize hitherto unimagined solutions!