We are constantly looking for innovative materials which can lower our environmental impact. In fact, it drives both our design and our business decisions. So it was incredible to see so many innovators, product designers and textile companies at this year's Future Fabric Exhibition held by The Sustainable Angle.
Below we highlight three stand out innovations which impressed us.
It is estimated that 13 million tyres are stockpiled or put into landfills every year in the UK. Tyres are highly durable and non-biodegradable, but new technology has made tyres a suitable target for recycling. Aside from use as fuel, the main end use for tyres remains ground rubber.
Now, a US based company have found another solution. They make it into fabrics.
Vulcana are committed to a greener, eco-friendly future by recycling tyres into usable upholstery, wall and floor coverings, outdoor furniture, tarps, flags and more. And let us tell you, it looks and feels great!
Yes, leaves! 100% vegan and with characteristics like leather, beLEAF™ is an innovative and eco-friendly material made using leaves from Brazil.
The product raw material is natural and renewable. Once harvested the leaves are given a backing, such as recycled PET from post-consumer plastic bottles. The backing transforms the leaves into a pliable and easily used fabric.
The manufacturer Nova Kaeru harvests the leaves from areas which are planted together with reforestation farms and which neighbour their factory. beLEAF™ significantly reduces the carbon footprint of its production because everything is grown and harvested locally to the factory.
In addition, organic wastes from the production process are composted and used as soil nutrients, helping to preserve the biome, wildlife and waterways.
Chip[s] Board® are a bio-material innovation company who see value in waste. They apply a Circular Economy model to address the damage caused by material manufacturing, by developing materials from natural by-products.
Any idea what this button is made from?
It's CSB, an eco-friendly particulate board made from industrial 'potato' waste. Yes, you read that correctly, potato waste. It's impossible to imagine the amount of waste created annually, but it's in the region of 12-20% of total potato production. Turning this in to usable, durable and good-looking items is quite incredible.
Chip[s] Board® materials are created with little water and contain no harmful chemicals or non-bio-degradable material. All the off cuts from material production are all incorporated back into the process too.
Remember, we can all have an impact on the global fashion footprint. Do your research and find brands who are aligned with your values, because fast fashion causes irreparable damage to our planet. There is an old saying, "buy cheap, pay twice". If you buy well and pay a bit more, your clothes will last longer, and less clothing will end up in landfill.
We hope to see many of the innovative materials from this year's Future Fabrics Exhibition readily available in the coming months and years.
If you are interested to know about other innovative materials, then take a look at these other recommended posts.