A campaign to promote viscose as an essentially eco-friendly fibre is now under way at Glanzstoff Austria GmbH. In its glossy sales brochures the company talks of "the completely unproblematic disposal of viscose waste" as one of the fibre's special advantages for 2lst century producers.

"Under the correct specific conditions viscose is fully biodegradable while, in contrast to most synthetic fibres, burning viscose waste does not result in bad odour or toxic by-products and the basic plant fibres of which viscose is composed leave no residue," Glanzstoff experts explain.

And, keen to stress that the green approach extends to all stages of its production processes, Glanzstoff points out that for past decade it has been treating and recycling waste water.

"We employ sophsticated methods of separation and micro-organism treatment to ensure that waste water from our production lines meets grade two requirements before it is released into the hydrological cycle," says Glanzstoff, adding that a profitable by-product of the spinning baths is sodium sulphate which is then sold on to other chemical users.

Meanwhile, at the St Polten plant the first phase of a multi-stage programme of waste air purification is complete ― indeed, "it has been operative for the past two years ― and work on phase two is well on the way to completion," say Glanzstoff.

By Sonia Roberts.