What do composites, boards, suede, and molded parts have in common? From tea waste to recycled denim, more and more manufacturers are designing upcycled materials with new capabilities. Let’s look at a few of these materials and their origins…
Tea Waste with Jesmonite by Dust London
This is a handcrafted, organic material constructed from local tea waste. Many tea bags are made from single-use plastic, Polypropylene (PP), and cannot be recycled. After being collected from local cafes, the waste teabags are sorted by the tea leaf type, thoroughly dried, and then blended with Jesmonite, a non-toxic binder. The composite is poured into a mold of its intended use.
The upcycled tea waste allows for a range of natural pigments and textures and the material is offered in four color variations based on the type of tea leaf used: chamomile tea, black tea, peppermint tea, and rooibos tea. Applications include homewares, furniture, and interior projects such as tiles, work surfaces, and wall displays.
Highlight by HighSociety
A series of plant-based biocomposites that upcycles local post-industrial waste to create lampshades, Highlight consists of three different pieces made from the by-products of the hemp, tobacco, and wine production processes.
The compression of these raw materials creates sleek and natural-looking surfaces with distinct aromas, resulting in unique textures for lampshades and other products, designed to suit modern commercial or residential spaces. This upcycled material is sold as individual finished products. Other applications for the custom molded parts include consumer electronics, furniture, and interior design products.
Suede RP by Kuraray America, Inc.
A premium, high-performance man-made suede fabric created from recycled plastic bottles, this material is made from a blend of 80% polyester (PET) and 20% polyurethane (PU). During production, recycled bottles are first crushed and then melted to remake them into pellets. The pellets are then extruded into yarns for further fabric fabrication and then dyeing.
The resulting material is sustainable without compromising appearance, hand feel, or physical properties. It is soft and luxurious while having excellent properties with regards to abrasion, crocking, and UV. Applications include apparel, footwear, and furniture and automotive upholstery.
ESKA JEANS by Eska B.V.
This eco-responsible solid surface is pushing boundaries for the luxury industry. A new innovative and eco-friendly solid board that is made from recycled jeans fibers. Made with multi-layers of natural and recycled (jeans fibers + FSC and PEFC certified recycled paper) materials, it remains rigid, lightweight, and flat.
The recycled jeans fibers are collected from a network of recyclers. The manufacturing site uses natural gas to lower its carbon footprint and is aiming to further reduce its environmental impact in 2020 by reducing its waste by 75% and gas consumption by 30%. Applications are for finished luxury packaging, inserts, brochures, business cards, displays, and high-end stationery solutions.
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