Eastman highlights research from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution showing company's Naia cellulosic fiber disintegrates, biodegrades in the ocean within months; product is derived from sustainably sourced pine and eucalyptus

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KINGSPORT, Tennessee , February 1, 2022 (press release) –

Eastman, producer of sustainably sourced Naia™ cellulosic fiber, has received further scientific evidence that the cellulose diacetate (CDA)-based material disintegrates and biodegrades in the ocean within months.

Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the world's leading, independent nonprofit organization dedicated to ocean research, exploration and education, led the study, which was published in December and demonstrated that "CDA-based materials disintegrate and biodegrade in the ocean orders of magnitude faster (months) than previously reported (decades)."

CDA is largely derived from wood pulp, making it biobased. Naia™ cellulosic fiber is responsibly sourced from sustainably managed pine and eucalyptus forests, and it is produced in a safe, closed-loop process where solvents are recycled back into the system for reuse.

"These materials are breaking down on timescales of months. This challenges the perception that they persist for decades," said coauthor Collin Ward, assistant scientist in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department at WHOI.

The study showed the comparative disintegration of similarly constructed fabrics under identical seawater conditions. Fabric that is 100% Naia™ completely disintegrated at 13 weeks, compared to 100% cotton at 11 weeks and 100% polyester, which showed no visual signs of disintegration throughout the 25-week incubation period.

"Eastman has a vision and strategy to address climate change, mainstream circularity, and build a more inclusive and equitable world," said Ruth Farrell, global marketing director for Eastman's textiles business. "We are pleased that the results of the WHOI study confirm that Naia™ cellulosic fibers will not persist in our oceans."

The Eastman Naia™ team works closely with global sustainability-focused organizations like the Textile Exchange, Accelerating Circularity, Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), Canopy, Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC), and TMC.

Naia™ is in the process of obtaining TÜV OK biodegradable marine certification from TÜV AUSTRIA. Naia™ is already certified by TÜV AUSTRIA as biodegradable in freshwater and soil environments as well as compostable in industrial settings. Naia™ staple fiber is also compostable in home settings.

Publication

Rapid Degradation of Cellulose Diacetate by Marine Microbes | Environmental Science & Technology Letters (acs.org)

Press release by WHOI:

Study finds that bio-based cellulose acetate plastic widely used in consumer goods disintegrates in the ocean much faster than assumed – Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (whoi.edu)

 
About Eastman
Founded in 1920, Eastman is a global specialty materials company that produces a broad range of products found in items people use every day. With the purpose of enhancing the quality of life in a material way, Eastman works with customers to deliver innovative products and solutions while maintaining a commitment to safety and sustainability. The company's innovation-driven growth model takes advantage of world-class technology platforms, deep customer engagement, and differentiated application development to grow its leading positions in attractive end markets such as transportation, building and construction, and consumables. As a globally inclusive and diverse company, Eastman employs approximately 14,000 people around the world and serves customers in more than 100 countries. The company had 2021 revenues of approximately $10.5 billion and is headquartered in Kingsport, Tennessee, USA. For more information, visit www.eastman.com.

 

About Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is a private, nonprofit organization on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930, its primary mission is to understand the ocean and its interaction with the Earth as a whole and to communicate an understanding of the ocean's role in the changing global environment. WHOI's pioneering discoveries stem from an ideal combination of science and engineering—one that has made it one of the most trusted and technically advanced leaders in basic and applied ocean research and exploration anywhere. WHOI is known for its multidisciplinary approach, superior ship operations, and unparalleled deep-sea robotics capabilities. We play a leading role in ocean observation and operate the most extensive suite of data-gathering platforms in the world. Top scientists, engineers, and students collaborate on more than 800 concurrent projects worldwide—both above and below the waves—pushing the boundaries of knowledge and possibility. For more information, please visit www.whoi.edu

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