Sustainable design: a look into closed-loop textiles

in sustainable design

The impact of producing textiles is very high and – right now – the industry is pretty wasteful (like many others). From upholsteries to drapes, textiles are everywhere in interiors, so this is very much an interior design concern as well.

These days, options are being developed to tackle both the impact of textile-making processes and end-of-life waste. What follows is a review of some sustainable textile innovations…

from old to new

Using old textiles to make new ones is one of the most intuitive ways to close the loop in textile manufacturing. But it’s not always easy to put into practice, especially when it comes to mixed-yarn fabrics.
ReBlend (opened in a new window/tab) does exactly that, sourcing end-of-life textiles (even if mixed-yarn) and giving them a new life. The making process saves a considerable amount of water, energy, and pollution plus – of course – rescuing textiles from landfills. The resulting fabrics take their colour mainly from the existing yarn, with little-to-no extra dying. Not less important, fabrics are taken back after use to reuse them again and again.

Fabric samples.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: ReBlend (opened in a new window/tab)
Close-up of a recycled textile towel.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: ReBlend (opened in a new window/tab)

tackling packaging waste

Single-use packaging is a giant problem in our world.
Remeant (opened in a new window/tab) is addressing it through textiles, making use of non-recyclable packaging materials such as bubble wrap and aluminum foil. Turning this waste into fabrics takes advantage of the durability of the raw materials, creating something that's meant to last a lot longer than single-use packaging.

Fabric samples.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Remeant (opened in a new window/tab)
Hanging chair with a cushion made of bubble wrap fabric.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Remeant (opened in a new window/tab)

where stone meets fabric

If there’s one thing sustainable innovation does is stimulate creativity, ending up with seriously out-of-the-box solutions.
How about marrying textiles and stone? This is what Marm/more (opened in a new window/tab) is doing, incorporating waste marble powder into an innovative and circular fabric coating that makes the end product more resistant and shiny.

Fabric samples.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Marm/more (opened in a new window/tab)
Close-up of a chair upholstered with Marm/more fabric.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Marm/more (opened in a new window/tab)

coming from the forest

Cellulose is another material that can be turned into fabric.
Spinnova (opened in a new window/tab) does it through a zero-waste process that uses very little water and doesn’t employ harmful chemicals. The same process works regardless of the origin of cellulose: certified wood, post-consumer cotton, or waste biomasses. When the time comes, used fabric can be fed right into the process to make new one without quality loss, in a never-ending loop.

Close-up of Spinnova yarn.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Spinnova (opened in a new window/tab)
Close-up of Spinnova fabric.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Spinnova (opened in a new window/tab)

unleather

Not all leather alternatives are created equal and not all of them are equally sustainable.
Mylo (opened in a new window/tab) by Bolt Thread is a leather alternative made almost entirely of mycelium. Mycelium grows on sawdust and organic matter in a vertical farming facility that replicates natural conditions, then it is processed and dyed. The resulting fabric is incredibly similar to leather and very promising.

The process from mushrooms to Mylo.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Mylo (opened in a new window/tab)
Moodboard made with mushrooms and Mylo samples.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Mylo (opened in a new window/tab)

 
Sustainable innovation is happening and less impactful options are increasing. Getting to know them is the first step. The next step is on us: how can we incorporate these materials in our designs? The challenge is open…

for more sustainable interior design options, visit SforSustainable (opened in a new window/tab)

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