Leftover food recycled into green fashion!
How's this for radical recycling? From fish skins to coconut husks, textile technology is mining our food waste for the creation of new eco-friendly fabrics - and they're going mainstream!
Which of these would you wear?
Coconut husks into high tech outdoor wear
Practical outdoorsy folks will admire the properties of this eco-fabric, created using recycled coconut shells.
Activated carbon (the same substance used in water filters) is made from the outer husks of coconuts and cleverly interwoven into fibres. The carbon within the fabric helps to wick sweat away from the skin on hot days, retain heat on cold ones and reduce any smelliness!
This video shows how it works:
Innovative textile company 37.5 (named for our optimum body temperature) provides these fabrics to a wide range of outdoor brands, including Adidas and North Face.
Fish skins into 'leather'
Discoveries of the health benefits of fish and fish oils have led to the demand for fish on our plates exploding over the last couple of decades. However, for each tonne of fish fillets produced, around 45kg of fish skin is discarded. In the past, unused fish skin would be dumped back into the water or get recycled into food for other animals.
Another way to use this scaly byproduct has been found: recycling the skin into leather. Smaller eco-friendly fashion houses such as Heidi and Adele, as well as the big boys like Nike, Dior, and Prada, have begun incorporating the soft and flexible material into their shoes, bags, and even iPhone covers.
Fish leather gives an exotic, exclusive feel to their goods using resources that might just be thrown away otherwise and without the need to kill animals such as snakes, crocodiles and alligators simply for their skins. We're fans!
Coffee grounds into fabric
The used grounds from three cups of coffee plus the plastic recycled from 12 bottles go into the making of the fabric for one of ECOALF's cool eco-friendly jackets.
How? The used coffee grounds are collected from a well-known chain of cafés, dried and processed into an extraordinarily fine 'nano-powder'. ECOALF mix this powder with reclaimed plastic from plastic bottle recycling, spin this into skeins of tough yarn and weave the fabric for their outdoor clothing range from the results.
Why the coffee? Well, in a similar way to the coconut husk carbon fabric we described above, the addition of the coffee nano-powder to the yarn gives the resulting cloth several very beneficial attributes: it becomes UV-resistant, wicks away sweat, keeps you cool and prevents odours. Genius!