A TEXTILE company has stung its way to success with a new fabric made from nettles.
Mirfield-based Camira Fabrics Ltd has already notched up several awards for its aptly-named Sting fabric, including interior product of the year.
Now the eco-friendly material is on its way to being crowned the best environmentally-friendly product in Europe.
Sting, which stands for Sustainable Technology in Nettle Growing, is one of just three UK products to make the finals of the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE).
Camira’s marketing director Ian Burn said the product, which is 25% nettles and 75% wool, had “really captured people’s imagination” and was proving very popular with clients for its soft and smooth feel.
He said: “It looks good and it wears extremely well.
“This is a fabric that was developed over three years with De Montfort University and with funding from Defra.
“The brief was to develop a new environmentally-friendly textile using natural materials that could be grown as an agricultural crop.
“We grow the nettles at a farm in Leicestershire and another near Driffield.
“But we’re actually looking for more farmers to come on board.”
Sting is already being used by prestigious eco-conscious companies such as Green and Black’s, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Lloyds bank.
Its green credentials go far beyond the colour of the nettles.
The manufacture of Sting uses just 10.8 kilowatt hours (KWh) energy and produces 5.9 kg CO2 per linear metre of fabric.
Camira’s normal polyester fabric uses more than triple that amount – 36.7 KWh energy and 19.8 kg CO2 per metre.
It also meets tough industry fire retardant tests without any chemical treatment.
And its carbon footprint is further improved as it’s woven in Meltham, dyed in Holmfirth and finished off at Camira’s low energy factory.
And despite its biting name, Mr Burn said no factory workers were harmed during the making of Sting.
He added: “It’s made using the stems of the nettles.
“We get the nettle fibre from our farmers who just mash it through cutters.
“The stinging leaves will have already rotted down when the nettles are harvested.”
The final results of the European Business Awards for the Environment are set to be announced in June.
In the meantime Camira is working on another natural fabric made from hemp.