Carezza di latte, caress of milk. It sounds like a new version of delicious Italian coffee to me, but make no mistake. It is the Italian toilet paper brand Tenderly’s latest premium product. Silky soft, it holds the promise of a supreme caress even for the most sensitive skin. And all of that with the help of waste milk. Sounds amazing, don’t you think?
Tenderly teamed up with the German company Qmilk, which made fame by turning milk into hypoallergenic cloth woven from fibers extracted from soured milk. Made from 100% natural and renewable raw materials, the fibers and clothes are antibacterial, regulate temperature and have a high color brilliance. Oh and in case you were wondering, you can wash the clothes in a normal washing machine up to 60 degrees celsius. Now the company came up with the technology to produce non-woven fabrics which can be used for toilet paper.
How does that work exactly? “When milk turns sour, you have whey at the bottom and a solid at the top. Remove the whey and you have cottage cheese, which we dry to a protein powder. Then we put this in a sort of noodle machine, add water and make a sort of cookie dough. Then we work it through to produce fine fibers.” founder Domaske explained to the Guardian.
Domaske got the idea when she started looking for hypoallergic and anti-bacterial clothes for her stepfather when he got cancer. Hygienic paper and clothing often contains several chemical products and possible hormone disruptors. Eventually, her eye fell on milk proteins as the basis for fibers. Starting out in the kitchen-turned-laboratory, the idea took shape and in 2011 the start-up Qmilk was founded.
Before all the vegans and animal rights activists between my readers bring out their banners, let me assure you. The milk used by Qmilk is unusable for consumption and would normally be thrown away. This happens when a cow is sick or has been treated with certain antibiotics. The company estimates that around 1.9 million tons of milk are being disposed that way in Germany every year. Not anymore. By now, Qmilk offers fibers for clothing, home textiles, car seats and medical textiles.
Producing toilet paper from a well-managed forest is more resource efficient than making it from milk. Yet, as long as Qmilk works with waste milk, it is an environmentally friendly solution. In addition, it is also beneficial for farmers, who are now being paid by Qmilk for the milk they would otherwise pour away. That’s what I call a win-win solution!