Dr. Luke Haverhals (Founder & CEO) & Steve Zika (COO)

Dr. Luke Haverhals (Founder & CEO) & Steve Zika (COO)

Already making waves on a global scale, Natural Fiber Welding is directly reducing the worlds reliance on plastic – from right here in Peoria.

By now you know that the biggest pollution problem confronting the world's oceans is the one word of advice imparted to Dustin Hoffman in the movie, "The Graduate:" plastics.

Plastic waste is turning up in waters around the globe but the problem may be as close as your washing machine. According to one research report, every 13-pound load of laundry releases an estimated 700,000 tiny plastic fibers.

Luke Haverhals formed Natural Fiber Welding right here in Peoria to help solve that problem.

Since plastic has infiltrated the textile industry, nearly 60 percent of all textiles are plastic that's derived from petroleum, said Haverhals, who seeks to provide an alternative solution along with Steve Zika, the company's chief operating officer.

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The Peoria company, now operating out of the building on Galena Road that once housed the Firefly battery startup, has perfected a process that allows cotton, hemp and other natural fibers to behave like synthetics.

In addition to a revolutionary cotton sewing thread and industry-leading recycled cotton blend, NFW has recently announced the creation of Mirum™, the world’s first and only 100% natural leather alternative.

“We think vegan should mean plants, not plastic,” said Dr. Haverhals. “Unfortunately, many new vegan and faux leather products are really just natural fibers coated with polyurethane and other non-biodegradable plastics.”

Currently in trial and testing phases with top global brands in the fashion, consumer products and automotive industries, Mirum™ is positioned to completely revolutionize the textiles market with a unparalleled focus on sustainability and scalability – right here from Peoria.

“Peoria is an under-the-radar innovation hub for the Midwest,” says Chad Stamper, Director of Commercialization. “With its deep manufacturing roots, the city is supportive of startups; especially those tackling issues having global impact. It is the perfect environment to support the vision and growth of Natural Fiber Welding.”

Learn more about Natural Fiber Welding by visiting their website at: https://www.naturalfiberwelding.com or connect with us via the form below to get more information about opportunities in the sustainable materials space.

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Dr. Luke Haverhals describing NFW to guests at the Peoria Innovation Alliance launch event.

Dr. Luke Haverhals describing NFW to guests at the Peoria Innovation Alliance launch event.