Cleaning supplies should make the whole world cleaner, not just the home. But we didn’t expect tequila would be the answer.
Jalisco, Mexico is the state of tequila: in 2011, over 41 million gallons of tequila were produced here by 145 registered distilleries. It took over 700,000 tons of agave to make.
Source: “Statistics 1994–2011.” Consejo Regulador del Tequila. February 2012.
The answer, until recently, was nothing much: it was often left to decompose in the fields. But it takes 6–10 years of farming—spending energy and water—to grow agave before it’s harvested for tequila. That’s up to a decade’s worth of energy that could be reused.
“Sustainability is about using materials to their fullest. Sometimes that means unlocking their hidden potentials”
- Myhanh Truong
Product Development Specialist, 3M Home Care
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?
“We had been looking out for new sources of natural plant fibers for use in our cleaning products.”
- Myhanh Truong
Agave might be great at scrubbing, but it took a lot of work to adapt the material to manufacturing processes. Through prototyping various manufacturing processes, the 3M team learned how best to address flammability and stickiness, inherent challenges of mass-producing scrubbing fibers with the material.
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.
Outlasts 30 rolls of paper towels
Scotch-Brite® Greener Clean products offer sustainable qualities to help you rethink your routine.
More than a century of abrasives that shape, finish, and polish with ease and precision.
After 50 years of exploring uses for nonwoven materials, we’re still finding new opportunities.