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Entrepreneur Combines Hemp, Organic Cotton in Wash, Hand & Bath Towels

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JACKSONVILLE, FLA.—There have been many combinations of fibers that have come together in recent years to form towels that have been more sustainable in nature, but few companies have combined organic cotton and hemp. One such company is Anact. Anact was founded on Kickstarter by Brianna Kilcullen 2019. In that year she helped legalize hemp in Florida while founding her company. Prior to starting Anact, she worked in the apparel industry for prAna, a subsidiary of Columbia Sportswear and Under Armour.

“I worked for Under Armour and got to see the impact of the textile industry,” Kilcullen says. “I ended up creating a sustainability role at Under Armour.”

As with many entrepreneurs, Kilcullen decided to break off on her own to form her own company. “I had the realization that to see the industry move forward I would have do it myself,” she says. “It was a no brainer to use hemp.”

In September of 1937, hemp became illegal with the passing of the Marijuana Tax Act. The most recent Farm Bill, signed into law in 2018 by President Donald Trump, finally legalized its production for all purposes.

Part Hemp, Part Organic Cotton

Today, Anact offers wash, hand, and bath towels made from 55 percent hemp and 45 percent organic cotton. According to Anact, a set of its towels has the following positive impact when compared to conventional cotton: 2.2 miles of driving emissions avoided, 760.7 days of drinking water saved, 861.4 hours of LED bulb energy saved, and 26.6 square feet of land farmed without pesticides. Hemp removes toxins from the soil and is one of the safest fibers for workers.

According to Kilcullen, Anact towels, which are compostable and biodegradeable, are manufactured in China where the hemp is grown. “It is durable and grows like bamboo,” she says. “The climate crisis and additional awareness about textiles are helping drive the uptick in the usage of hemp.”

Kilcullen says Anact has been growing substantially. The company was featured on Good Morning America in April and currently is in some boutique hotels. “Certain countries like Costa Rica have had an interest out of the gates,” she says. “We have had conversations with the larger hotels. Cost is still an issue because the supply is so limited.”

Glenn Hasek can be reached at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.

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