For years, remnants of agave plants used to make tequila were discarded and left in the fields to rot, but now the 3M company is turning that “waste” into something useful.
When the juices of the agave are extracted, the plants are of no use to tequila producer, that is, until now.
The 3M company, the parent company of brands like Post-It and Scotch, have now developed a way to turn agave waste into cleaning supplies like sponges.
In 2011, in Jalisco, Mexico alone, 700,00 tons of agave were used to make 41 million gallons of tequila. On average, it takes 6-10 years of farming to grow agave before it is harvested for tequila. The 3M technology now allows all that time and energy to create more than just the famous drink.
On its website, 3M states:
3M scientist Myhanh Truong was part of a team in the U.S. looking to manufacture 3M products with new, more environmentally sustainable materials. And in France, another 3M team had just pioneered a way to turn agave fiber, called a bagasse, into a nonflammable nonwoven material (one of 3M’s core technologies).
Could it be adapted for use in a new kind of sponge?
The 3M team created scrubbing fibers made of 50% agave, the scouring muscle of a new 100% plant-based-fiber sponge using 23% recycled material. It’s called the Scotch-Brite® Greener Clean Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge. It helps clean up unused agave even before you bring it home. That’s an innovation that will live on.
The agave-based non-scratch scrub sponges can reportedly outlast 30 rolls of paper towels and can be sanitized in the dishwasher.
The entire line of scouring pads and scrubbers is made with 100-percent plant-based fibers, 50 percent of that being agave fibers.