These funky sandals upcycle fabric from the cutting room floor

June 26, 2020 by  
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The fashion industry deserves a harsh slap on the wrist for how its manufacturing impacts the environment . From the overconsumption of resources to water pollution to material waste, it’s refreshing when companies take corporate responsibility and show concern for nature. Native Shoes is one such company, with a history of making a light footprint in the production of their footwear. The company’s newest release, Davis Repurposed, is a slight variation from their already popular Davis collection. Related: Native Shoes’ Bloom collection is made of repurposed algae The ‘repurposed’ portion reflects that these shoes use scraps of leftover material that would otherwise go to waste. By being repurposed for these bright, bold and fun sandals, the colorful fabric stays out of landfills. Featuring two-straps, adjustable buckles, an EVA midsole and a contoured footbed, Davis Repurposed serves as a versatile shoe option for day trips, hiking excursions, beach walks or backyard celebrations. The line carries adult, junior and child sizes for all genders, with the addition of a thoughtful stretchy heel strap for the toddler set. Each pair retails for $55 CAD (child), $61 CAD (junior) and $75 CAD (adult). Native is not new to the sustainable manufacturing effort, with a history of innovative research and design. For example, its Plant Shoe uses only natural glues and a  plant-based, biodegradable template . The company manufactures its Bloom collection with repurposed algae using Rise by Bloom technology. Each of these examples serves Native’s mission statement: “Our goal by 2023, is for each and every pair of Natives Shoes to be 100% life cycle managed.” Native’s Remix Project aims to provide a return method for all Native-produced shoes so consumers can easily send them back to the company, where they are then recycled into other products for the community. According to the initiative, “The unique composition of Native Shoes can be reground into versatile material that is useful in the creation of seating, playground flooring, insulation and more. Leveraging a proprietary regrind process, we are able to break down the materials found in every style of Native Shoes including sandals, slip-ons, knit sneakers and boots. From that point – there’s no telling where your soles could turn up!” + Native Shoes Images via Native Shoes

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These funky sandals upcycle fabric from the cutting room floor

GALERIE.LA curates sustainable "Fashion With Integrity"

June 18, 2020 by  
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Again and again the headlines emphasize the dirty world of fashion . Polluting waterways, consuming materials and creating trendy fast fashion pieces that lead to massive landfill waste are all part of the process. So one company in Los Angeles called GALERIE.LA decided to track down the most sustainable clothing and fashion accessories it could find, bringing them together in one place for in-person or online shopping convenience. GALERIE.LA promotes a simple concept — fashion can be sustainable. From lipstick to shoes, the storefront at 767 South Alameda St. #192 in Los Angeles curates ethical options from head to toe. In store and online, each product features extensive traceability, so the consumer can easily make purchases based on what they believe defines a sustainable purchase. Related: Olli Ella releases capsule wardrobe made with organic cotton Dechel Mckillian, a celebrity stylist passionate about sustainable, conscientious fashion, is the founder of GALERIE.LA. After more than 10 years in the fashion industry, Mckillian saw an opportunity to connect people to their clothing, showing how meaningful it can be to shop for items that match one’s values. The company answers many questions about fashion. Who made this? Is it supporting my community? Were any animals harmed? What’s the environmental impact? To make the inventory easy to navigate, each item is tagged, either physically or virtually, with a variety of labels aimed at providing answers to these questions. Using these labels, shoppers can sort items by whether they meet the vegan criteria or are made using recycled materials . Another label identifies whether the product was sourced and produced within the same region. Other labels show if a product meets ethical manufacturing practices, such as fair wages and safe working conditions for employees, or if an item is made by an artisan and represents culture and tradition. Products in the store and online include clothing, accessories, home goods , beauty and self care, each carefully selected with the same goal in mind. “To have a positive environmental and social impact that is not at the expense of style and design is key,” the company said. “Our team is committed to scouting the most intriguing designers who use sustainable production methods to reduce their environmental footprint while taking the ethical business practices necessary to benefit people and communities.” + GALERIE.LA Images via GALERIE.LA

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GALERIE.LA curates sustainable "Fashion With Integrity"

This clothing tech company is 3D-printing garments to help reduce waste

June 8, 2020 by  
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Did you know that 85% of textiles ends up in landfills? While plenty of environmental data exists to focus on what happens to clothing at the end of its life, Copenhagen-based Son of a Tailor wants to bring awareness to the fact that textile waste is abundant at the manufacturing stage, too. At the manufacturing level, a large amount of usable material is wasted due to fabric cut-offs during production and mass-produced clothing that often goes unsold. Now, a fashion-meets-tech company is doing its part to end that unsustainable cycle. Son of a Tailor has been around since 2014, already known for creating custom, made-to-order T-shirts, and now it is aiming to eliminate waste even further with the world’s first 3D-knitted pullover sweater. Related: The sustainable wardrobe — it’s more accessible than you think Customers input individual measurements, such as height and weight, and a custom size is created through an algorithm on the website. For the T-shirts and polos, each individual garment pattern is fitted like puzzle pieces to minimize waste, then cut with a laser and sewn together. Unlike most mass-produced clothing, each Son of a Tailor shirt is constructed by the same person from start to finish. Going a step further, the new pullovers are created using an advanced, 3D-knitting machine. Each pullover is constructed in one whole piece, reducing the amount of cut-off waste from 20% to less than 1%. Son of a Tailor exclusively uses 100% extra-long staple cotton grown in California and superfine Merino wool from Australia. Both materials are tested for allergens and harmful substances and are knitted in Europe. There is no warehouse or store full of unsold clothing. Garments are only made if they are needed, meaning the company goes against the norm of fast fashion . Nothing ends up in the trash if it is unsold or goes out of style. A T-shirt will cost between $48-$64, and a pullover is between $117-$156, depending on the custom fit. The long cotton fibers and high-quality, durable wool make the products less prone to wear and tear, so the fabric stays soft and bright even after multiple washes. The company also offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee and will remake an item for customers who are unhappy with the garment fit. + Son of a Tailor Images via Son of a Tailor

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This clothing tech company is 3D-printing garments to help reduce waste

Trump waives environmental laws amid national crises

June 8, 2020 by  
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While the world focuses on a global pandemic and brutal racial discrimination, President  Trump  is sneakily squashing environmental laws. The Trump administration has directed federal agencies to waive many environmental requirements as a way to light a fire under the pandemic-strained economy. Under the president’s directive, federal agencies are now seeking workarounds in the usually time-consuming processes of getting approval for building highways, fossil fuel export terminals, pipelines and other energy and transportation infrastructure. Usually, large projects like these require applying for approval under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Signed by President Nixon in 1970, this law requires agencies to assess the environmental consequences of their planned actions and sometimes seek better alternatives. NEPA also gives people a voice in new projects and considers whether these projects affect any endangered species. Related: Trump administration rolls back fuel efficiency standards “Unnecessary regulatory delays will deny our citizens opportunities for jobs and economic security, keeping millions of Americans out of work and hindering our economic recovery from the national  emergency ,” Trump wrote in his executive order. Many industries and developers cheered. But environmentalists pounced on the new order. “Instead of trying to ease the pain of a nation in crisis, President Trump is focused on easing the pain of polluters,” said Gina McCarthy, a former  EPA  administrator who now heads the Natural Resources Defense Council. She characterized this move as “utterly senseless” and an abuse of emergency powers. Agencies will have 30 days to provide the president with a report of expedited projects. Some environmentalists say the new order is unlawful and will likely end up in court. Those who stand to lose the most are  endangered species  and humans in lower socioeconomic brackets, including many people of color. “These reviews are required by law to protect people from industries that can harm our health and our communities,” McCarthy said. “Getting rid of them will hit those who live closest to  polluting facilities and highways the hardest—in many of the same communities already suffering the most from the national emergencies at hand.” + NPR Via NRDC Image via Gage Skidmore

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Trump waives environmental laws amid national crises

Inside Eastman’s moonshot goal for endlessly circular plastics

May 11, 2020 by  
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Inside Eastman’s moonshot goal for endlessly circular plastics Joel Makower Mon, 05/11/2020 – 00:44 At first glance, the sprawling industrial site, covering roughly 900 acres in Kingsport, Tennessee, appears to be just another chemical manufacturing facility. There are hundreds of buildings and countless miles of pipes, conveyors, distillers, cooling towers, valves, pumps, compressors and controls. It doesn’t exactly look or feel particularly noteworthy. But something extraordinary is going on at this Eastman chemical plant: two breakthrough processes to turn waste plastics of all kinds back into new plastics, continuously, with no loss of quality. Last year, the company announced two major initiatives: Carbon renewal technology , or CRT, which breaks down waste plastic feedstocks to the molecular level before using them as building blocks to produce a wide range of materials and packaging. The company claims this enables waste plastics to be recycled an infinite number of times without degradation of quality. Polyester renewal technology , or PRT, which involves taking waste polyesters from landfills and other waste streams and transforming them back into a raw material that the company claims is indistinguishable from polyester produced from fossil-fuel feedstocks. With both CRT and PRT, hard-to-recycle plastics can be recycled an infinite number of times, says Eastman, creating products that can claim high levels of certified recycled content — a true closed loop. Both technologies are or will be hitting the market, so it is too soon to call them a success. Still, they represent a story about a legacy industrial company seeking to reinvent itself by simultaneously addressing the climate crisis, the scourge of plastic waste and the need to accelerate resource efficiency to meet the material needs of 10 billion people by mid-century. If it works, this old-line corporate icon could find itself a leading light in the emerging circular economy . Chemical reaction Eastman, celebrating its centennial this year, was founded by George Eastman, the entrepreneur who, in the late 1880s, started the Eastman Kodak Company. (“Kodak” was a made-up word he appended to his last name.) Along the way, he nearly singlehandedly democratized photography (and spawned countless “Kodak moments” ) through the company’s production of cameras, film, processing chemicals and related goods and services. In 1920, in the wake of World War I, Eastman’s company was suffering a scarcity of raw materials, including photographic paper, optical glass and gelatin, and many chemicals — such as methanol, acetic acid and acetone — needed to produce and process film stock and prints. He determined that ensuring his company’s future would require self-reliance. He set out to find a suitable location for a Kodak-owned and operated chemical production facility. If it works, this old-line corporate icon could find itself a leading light in the emerging circular economy. Kingsport proved to be the right spot, situated in what is known as the Mountain Empire, which spans a portion of southwest Virginia and the mountainous counties in northeastern Tennessee. It had ready access to two key commodities vital to Kodak: wood fiber to make cellulose, the key material in photographic film; and coal, which powered its boilers to make steam and electricity, and later would be used to produce synthetic gas — syngas — to create the acetyl chemicals needed to make films, plastics and textiles. From those two feedstocks, Eastman Chemical, a subsidiary of Kodak, grew to become an economic powerhouse in the Mountain Empire, expanding into its own empire of more than 50 manufacturing sites worldwide. The company adapted to, and prospered from, the changing times. By the late 1920s, for example, the demand for home movie film and the growing need for X-ray film led Eastman Chemical to produce acetic anhydride, the base material for photographic emulsions. In the 1930s, the company turned to producing cellulose acetate to make textile fibers. The automobile boom of the 1940s and 1950s led Eastman to produce chemicals and materials critical to automotive design and production. During World War II, the Kingsport site infamously was used to make RDX, a powerful explosive — a million and a half pounds a day, at its peak. By the end of World War II, Eastman was managing a project to produce enriched uranium for the Manhattan Project. After the war, polyester fibers for textiles and other products became, and remain, a significant line of business. George Eastman didn’t live to see much of the success he catalyzed. He died in 1932 by suicide, a single bullet to the heart. In the 1990s, Kodak’s photography business darkened with the advent of digital cameras — the company was slow to adapt and got run over by more nimble competitors — and the company spun off its chemical division in 1994 to help pay down debt. (Eastman, the company, has dropped “chemical” from its branding, although not from its legally incorporated name.) Eastman’s latest innovations, as well as its pivot to make sustainability core to its strategy, has been energized by its current chairman and CEO, Mark Costa. A former management consultant — Eastman was one of his clients — and brandishing degrees from both Berkeley and Harvard, Costa joined the company in 2006 to lead strategy, marketing and business development before ascending to the corner office in 2014. Under his leadership, the company has accelerated its transformation from chemicals to specialty materials. “When we came out of the great recession in 2009 and were starting to think about our innovation portfolio, we were already thinking about sustainability in a very serious way,” Costa told me over lunch in his office in early March, with a sweeping view of a nature preserve and park deeded by Eastman to the city of Kingsport. “We knew that the circular economy and being a lot more efficient with carbon was a good idea.” Media Authorship Mark Costa, Courtesy of Eastman Close Authorship Eastman CEO Mark Costa (Photo courtesy of Eastman) “This idea of circularity isn’t new to us,” he added. “In all of our innovation — I had the responsibility for the innovation portfolio since 2009 — we required everything that we did be tied to a sustainability driver. All the way back then.” Plastic to plastic Eastman’s two new “renewal” technologies are, to some degree, natural extensions of products and services that have long been part of Eastman’s toolkit. Now, repurposed and modified for an era of sustainability and circularity, they position the company to address one of the holy grails of the circular economy: turning waste plastic back into new plastic with the same performance and quality characteristics. The rising attention being paid to the global plastic waste problem has illuminated many serious challenges of collecting, sorting and recycling plastic back into new plastic in a continuously closed loop.  For starters, only a couple kinds of plastics are being regularly collected and recycled, based on available infrastructure and market demand: PET and HDPE — Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in the SPI resin identification codes developed in the late 1980s by the Society of the Plastics Industry. Most of the others — SPI Nos. 3 through 7 — are technically possible to recycle but lack both infrastructure and markets in most places. Worst of all is the growing mountain of packaging that is multi-material — layers upon layers of mixed polymers, papers, laminates and foils — in the form of juice boxes, ketchup packets, toothpaste tubes and countless other things. These Franken-materials are a nonstarter for most modern recycling systems. The best one can hope is that they be downcycled into some durable product — say, artificial turf, plastic furniture or an automobile fan blade — which itself will wear out eventually, ending up as nonrecyclable waste in a landfill. But only a tiny fraction of these plastics ever escape landfills as their final resting place. Eastman’s ability to turn all plastics back into their constituent molecules is a potential game-changer. Sorting all these plastics is another issue. Even if plastics 3 through 7 were readily recyclable, keeping various polymer types separate from one another is a highly labor-intensive task, assuming the infrastructure was even there to handle it. And given the historically low price of oil, even before the recent market crash, recycled plastic remains uncompetitive to virgin for many applications. Those petrochemicals are just too darn cheap. So, Eastman’s ability to turn all waste plastics back into their constituent molecules and back into productive use is a potential game-changer. A primer There are two basic ways to recycle plastics: mechanical and chemical. The former is most commonly used with soda bottles (PET) and milk jugs (HDPE) — plastics 1 and 2, respectively. It involves grinding, washing, separating, drying, regranulating and compounding waste plastic to create new raw materials. Mechanical recycling can be cost-effective but has limits and disadvantages: The process is heat-intensive — and, therefore, energy- and carbon-intensive — and produces air pollutants. Contamination by food and other foreign materials is another problem that literally gums up the works. And after plastic has been mechanically recycled once, it’s rarely suitable for another round of recycling. This means that the recycled material eventually will end up in waste streams. And there are physical limits to how recycled plastics produced through mechanical methods can be used in manufacturing. “You can only get up to maybe 50 percent recycled content in a bottle with mechanical, where you really start getting a pretty ugly product and all kinds of other performance issues,” Costa said. “So, there’s going to be sort of a quality performance limitation.” An alternative is chemical recycling, a technology that has been around since the 1950s but has become the focus of growing investment and innovation as the circular economy has gained steam. Plastic makers including BP and Dow, and consumer packaged goods companies such as Coca-Cola, Danone and Unilever, are testing or investing tens of millions of dollars in the technology, according to the Wall Street Journal . In chemical recycling, depolymerization breaks down plastics into their raw materials for conversion back into new polymers. Pyrolysis — heating of an organic material in the absence of oxygen — can turn mixed plastic waste into naphtha, which can be transformed back into petrochemicals and plastics. With only about 9 percent of the more than 400 million tons of plastic waste produced globally each year currently being recycled, according to U.N. Environment , that leaves the other 90 percent or so as potential feedstock.  There’s big potential here, according to a 2019 report from the American Chemistry Council. It found that if widely adopted, chemical recycling — which it refers to as “advanced plastic recycling and recovery” — could create nearly 40,000 direct and indirect U.S. jobs, as much as $2.2 billion in annual payroll and $9.9 billion in direct and indirect economic output.  Calling on the carpet Eastman’s carbon renewal and polyester renewal technologies are forms of chemical recycling. But they aren’t intended simply to displace mechanical recycling. For PET and HDPE plastics, mechanical recycling already is reasonably efficient, creating recycled materials streams that have proven cost-competitive in many markets. “We don’t want to compete with that,” Costa said. “Frankly, the value of it is too high. From a sustainability point of view, you shouldn’t touch it.” Media Authorship Courtesy of Eastman Close Authorship Besides, there’s a much bigger opportunity. Eastman’s Polyester Renewal Technology is a chemical recycling process specifically for polyester waste, which produces virgin-like materials, even from colored PET, according to Eastman. The process involves using glycolysis — the breakdown of PET by ethylene glycol — to disassemble waste PET into its fundamental building blocks. Those building blocks then can be reassembled to produce new polyesters with high levels of recycled content. In its search for waste plastics, Eastman easily can forgo tapping into recycling markets for plastic water and soda bottles. There are plenty of other sources of waste polyester — from carpets, for example. In one recent initiative, Eastman partnered with Circular Polymers , a company that reclaims post-consumer products for recycling. Circular Polymers is collecting and densifying the PET it retrieves from waste carpeting. It then converts the PET waste into pellets, which are shipped by railroad from its plant in California to Eastman in Tennessee. Eastman uses its CRT process to turn the pellets into new materials with certified recycled content. Those materials end up in textiles, packaging for cosmetics and personal care products, and eyeglass frames. Costa says Eastman could divert millions of pounds of carpeting a year through partnerships such as this, although that’s still a mere fraction of the more than 3 billion pounds of carpet sent to landfills in 2018, just in the United States, according to Carpet America Recovery Effort , an industry group. And it’s not just polyester. Eastman sees potentially unlimited opportunity in all the other types of plastic waste — especially the stuff that’s hard to recycle, from a cost and logistics perspective, including those dreaded Franken-materials. The company’s goal is to extract the value of the carbon molecules contained in these waste materials and put them back into productive use as like-new plastics. Said Costa: “If there’s a way to bring carbon back in through products that’s better than the fossil-fuel approach of the linear economy, we should do that, right? I mean, this isn’t complicated.” Fashion forward Eastman’s goal is to substitute its “carbon renewal” materials for their virgin counterparts wherever they are economically viable. Beyond pure economics, Costa described to me Eastman’s three criteria for determining when it makes sense, from both a business and ecological perspective, to recycle waste plastic. First, the waste has to go back into products — not be incinerated or burned to make energy. Second, the carbon footprint of the recycled material must be better than its fossil-fuel equivalent, based on life-cycle analysis. And third, “Consumers shouldn’t give up a lot in their quality of life.” That is, few if any tradeoffs in price or performance. So far, CRT and PRT processes are finding their way into several of Eastman’s many brands of polymers, including Tr?va, a cellulose-based thermoplastic made from trees, used in automotive, packaging and electronics applications; CDA, a bio-derived material, used in injection-molded applications, such as ophthalmic frames and tool handles; Cristal, designed and engineered specifically for high-end cosmetics packaging applications; and Tritan, a durable clear plastic used to make Camelbak and Nalgene water bottles, and Rubbermaid food storage containers. And then there is Naia , a fiber made from certified sustainably managed pine and eucalyptus plantations, widely used in the fashion industry. It is essentially cellulose acetate, the same material used in photographic film, being made by Eastman in Kingsport for about 100 years. In this case, it is spun into a yarn that is used to make fabric. Naia is made in a closed-loop process, in which chemical inputs — acetic acid and acetone — are continuously recycled. Naia is made in a closed-loop process, in which chemical inputs — acetic acid and acetone — continuously are recycled. According to company marketing materials, it compares favorably to silk, cotton, viscose filaments and polyester in terms of environmental impacts — water usage, climate emissions, ecosystem disruption — and feel. Its yarn can be knitted or woven and easily blended with other fibers. Garments made with Naia are easy to home-launder compared with many fashion-forward fabrics, which require dry cleaning, says Eastman. The company claims that Naia produces no microfibers when washed. There’s one big challenge from a sustainability perspective, however: The fossil fuels used as a feedstock to produce the syngas to make one of the principal ingredients for Naia. Eastman’s Naia textile yarn for fashion. (Photo courtesy of Eastman) Eastman is developing the technology to eliminate the fossil fuels from Naia production, replacing them with gases derived from breaking down waste plastics, a process called reforming, a carbon renewal technology . The resulting product, Naia Renew, is being launched this fall. The company describes it as “a cellulosic yarn sourced from 100 percent circular content, produced from 60 percent certified wood fibers and 40 percent recycle waste plastics.” Used textiles are another potential feedstock for Naia, creating a virtuous cycle that turns no-longer-wearable garments back into new ones. Eastman is in discussions with leading fashion brands about the potential of take-back programs in the future, Steve Crawford, Eastman’s chief technology and sustainability officer, told me during my visit. “They could collect the garments, send them to us, and we could make them back into the same fiber to make new garments.” Mining landfills? There’s yet another disruptive opportunity here: mining landfills to cull plastic waste to be “renewed” through Eastman’s processes. The company says it is working closely with waste management companies to evaluate how to create the availability of such feedstock. “As part of our work, there’s a lot of focus on how we partner, how we collaborate with the parties in this space,” explained Cathy Combs, Eastman’s director of sustainability. “How do we create an infrastructure that will be able to supply chemical recycling?”  “We’ve demonstrated that the new Eastman recycling technologies are capable of utilizing a broad array of waste plastics, including plastics that aren’t currently utilized in mechanical recycling,” Crawford added. “But we’ll need to partner with key players in both the waste collection and waste management systems, and key end-use value chains. We also need brands to help create demand for these materials to become valuable sources of feedstocks for these new technologies.” Of course, all of this innovation is taking place amid a pandemic, not to mention what appears to be a global recession. The textiles sector, like most others, has taken a hit from COVID-19, with a dramatic slowdown in global retail sales resulting in global supply-chain disruption, furloughs throughout the value chain and mounting inventories and liquidity challenges. But industry participants and influencers believe the textiles industry will emerge with an increased emphasis on sustainability as the industry rebuilds, said Jon Woods, Eastman’s general manager of textiles and nonwovens. Mark Costa, for his part, remains bullish on the company’s future, including on the impact the company could have both locally and globally — particularly in the economic development that come from mining plastics from local waste streams. “I think there’s going to be real economic opportunity, and a lot of small-business job creation — which is great for this country as well as in Europe — who are going to jump into this,” he told me. “I mean, the waste management guys will do it, and they’ll be big and at scale. But there’s also a lot of opportunity for local, small businesses to work with municipalities on how to do that. And just like we saw with carpet and the way they densified it, people are going to get creative. Once there’s policy and economic incentive, that’s what America does great.” There’s going to be real economic opportunity, and a lot of small-business job creation — which is great for this country as well as in Europe — who are going to jump into this. Costa believes that technologies such as CRT and PRT can give new life to plastics recycling if they can dramatically improve its economics. “The aluminum guys would have never succeeded if they could only take 10 to 20 percent of the aluminum and had to throw away 80 percent. I doubt you’d have high aluminum recycling rates because you just couldn’t justify the effort.” And, he added, some of Eastman’s sustainability and circular ingenuity just might rub off on the beleaguered chemical sector. “Everyone wants to focus on the things that are negative about the chemical industry, and we have lots of room for improvement. So, how do we collaborate to take this seriously, which I think the industry very much does right now, and solve the next set of solutions to make the environment better at the same time as you’re improving quality of life? That’s our ultimate goal. That’s what we get up every day trying to focus on doing.” I invite you to follow me on Twitter , subscribe to my Monday morning newsletter, GreenBuzz , and listen to GreenBiz 350 , my weekly podcast, co-hosted with Heather Clancy. Pull Quote If it works, this old-line corporate icon could find itself a leading light in the emerging circular economy. Eastman’s ability to turn all plastics back into their constituent molecules is a potential game-changer. Naia is made in a closed-loop process, in which chemical inputs — acetic acid and acetone — are continuously recycled. There’s going to be real economic opportunity, and a lot of small-business job creation — which is great for this country as well as in Europe — who are going to jump into this. Topics Circular Economy Leadership Plastic Waste Recycling Featured Column Two Steps Forward Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off An aerial view of Eastman’s Kingsport, Tennessee headquarters facility. Courtesy Eastman Close Authorship

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Inside Eastman’s moonshot goal for endlessly circular plastics

This recycled metal jewelry is inspired by our world

April 29, 2020 by  
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Raised in the countryside of South West England, creative artist Emma Aitchison has developed a jewelry line inspired by and respectful to nature . Furthermore, Aitchison wanted her unique designs to act as a symbol for environmental awareness and to provoke conversations about protecting vital resources on the planet. While Aitchison offers a line of handmade classics, she excels at giving old jewelry new life . This often means turning an antiquated family heirloom into something modern and personal or redesigning a broken piece into something striking. Each product is inspired by and named after our world, from the Current ring and Wave necklace to the popular Polluted bracelet and Magma earrings. Related: This jewelry is made with upcycled gold from Dell computers Sustainable practices have always been at the heart of the company. Emma Aitchison is based in the U.K. and has made a concentrated effort to partner only with other local businesses. This keeps transportation costs for materials and production low and reduces emissions. All items are packaged using eco-friendly filler that is reusable and recyclable. Perhaps the most notable nod to the planet is the company’s dedication to using only recycled gems. That means no virgin gems are mined or created in a lab for these necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings. Instead, Emma Aitchison uses gems from old jewelry, including pieces already owned by customers. All silver necklaces are also made from 100% recycled metal. The company maintained carbon neutrality throughout 2018 and 2019 with these decisions plus its commitment to carbon offsetting. Every successful business looks to the future, but Emma Aitchison’s list of company goals looks different than most. It aims to continue streamlining supply, production and delivery in an eco-friendly way. For example, although the current gold-plating is done in London at a sustainable company, Ella Aitchison hopes to improve this practice by transitioning to solid gold that can be Fair Trade-certified and recycled. The company hopes to become zero-waste , too. In addition to eco-friendly packaging, delivery will employ bike couriers in the local area and carbon-neutral shipping companies elsewhere. A future studio update even includes recycled materials, solar panels and wind power to further reduce Emma Aitchison’s overall impact on the planet. During the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, the company has vowed to remain loyal to suppliers who are unable to provide products at this time. Instead, Emma Aitchison is continuing sales with the inventory it has in stock and is taking pre-orders for shipments once it can restock. It is also offering a 25% discount during this time. + Emma Aitchison Images via Emma Aitchison

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This recycled metal jewelry is inspired by our world

How fashion professionals are re-educating for a circular economy

April 17, 2020 by  
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Eighty percent of a product’s environmental impact is decided on the design table but most apparel professionals weren’t trained to design with the end-user or end-of-life of the garment in mind.

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How fashion professionals are re-educating for a circular economy

Climate change isn’t going away — it’s still important to recognize Earth Day

April 17, 2020 by  
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COVID-19 may be stopping in-person gatherings but Earth Day celebrations will go on, digital.

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Climate change isn’t going away — it’s still important to recognize Earth Day

These recycled plastic tracksuits are naturally dyed with plants

April 3, 2020 by  
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Environmentally conscious clothing companies are few and far between, with the fashion industry as a whole being one of the top polluters on Earth. But with the planet in mind, PANGAIA (pronounced Pan-guy-ya) creates fabrics that are responsibly made to the benefit of the environment and your wardrobe. The newest addition to the PANGAIA lineup is the tracksuit collection consisting of hoodies and track pants. The 15 colors range from standard gray and off-white to strikingly bright shades of orange and green, each of which are naturally dyed with plant-derived colors. The non-toxic, natural dyes are made from food waste, plants, fruits and vegetables to achieve the richly toned hues. As an example, the pink track pants are colored with a natural dye extracted from roots and rhizomes of Rubia cordifolia . The Rennet yellow track pants and hoodies are colored with a natural dye extracted from Gall Nut of Quercus infectoria . Related: PANGAIA presents FLWRDWN, a down alternative made from biodegradable wildflowers According to the company, 100 billion articles of clothing and 500 billion plastic bottles are produced annually, with half ending up in landfills. Instead of contributing to the waste, PANGAIA turns discarded plastic, mostly from single-use water bottles, into yarn and then into long-lasting clothing. To add softness and comfort, it combines 45% recycled cotton with 55% organic cotton, grown without damaging pesticides and herbicides that pollute the soil and water. “The organic raw cotton we use holds the transaction certificate from the Control Union, meaning that the yarn is processed according to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS),” the company stated. “All trims, labels and threads are either recycled or responsibly sourced.” Additional consideration is taken for the product packaging, which is part bio-based and able to break down at a compost facility in 24 weeks. PANGAIA has a history of sustainable material development, with a variety of products made from plants. For example, it has produced a seaweed fiber that is naturally organic and easily biodegradable, and the company spent 10 years developing FLWRDWN, a goose and duck down alternative made from flowers. Similar products are available as part of the botanical dye T-shirt line, all of which are colored from dyes created from food waste and natural resources. For example, PANGAIA’s Sakura Tee is dyed from excess Japanese sakura cherry blossoms after they are collected for making tea. PANGAIA reports its “supplier dyes textiles in a way that uses less water, is non-toxic and biodegradable.” To ensure transparency throughout the manufacturing process, each garment tag includes blockchain technology that shows the full history of the garment. A blockchain cannot be altered and provides a record of each stage of the journey, with complete traceability and authenticity. The new tracksuits are made in Portugal. + PANGAIA Images via PANGAIA

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These recycled plastic tracksuits are naturally dyed with plants

‘I Am a Plastic Bag’ is made from recycled single-use plastic bottles

March 2, 2020 by  
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Following the sold-out success of “I Am Not a Plastic Bag” in 2007, designer brand Anya Hindmarch has launched a new product, called “I Am a Plastic Bag”, aimed at recycling single-use plastic and leaving behind a net-zero carbon footprint from production. The initial “I Am Not a Plastic Bag” release was a campaign to raise awareness about disposable plastic bag usage. According to a press release from the company, “The British Retail Consortium estimated that in 2006, the U.K. alone used 10.6bn plastic bags, and this figure dropped to 6.1bn in 2010. Specifically, Sainsbury’s cut the number of bags they gave away by 58% in the two years that followed the campaign, giving out 312m fewer bags in 2008 than 2009 and saving 13,200 tonnes of virgin plastic over two years.” Related: Patagonia’s Black Hole Bags are made from recycled plastic bottles Thirteen years later, Hindmarch has decided to shift focus. Instead of centering the campaign around reducing plastic bag usage, the new “I Am a Plastic Bag” is made from a soft, cotton-like fabric constructed from recycled plastic bottles to spotlight the excessive waste generated from single-use plastic. The manufacturing process begins by washing and sorting the collected bottles before they are shredded and turned into pellets. The pellets are then converted into fibers that are spun and woven into fabric . To achieve the weather-resistant finish, the bags are coated in a recycled PVB made from old windshields. Anya Hindmarch partnered with a Taiwanese company for the finish, which appears to be the only one of its kind that has achieved Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certification. After considering faux options, the company decided the least impactful trim was real leather. It sourced the natural meat byproduct as a way to recycle the material. Collected from a tannery in Northern Italy, the leather doesn’t travel far to the manufacturing line. While Anya Hindmarch designers don’t believe that carbon-offsetting is the answer for an industry known for excessive waste and pollution , they also partnered with EcoAct, a global climate change consultant. EcoAct has been measuring the emissions from the I Am a Plastic Bag production in order to make the process carbon-neutral. As a statement of what the line stands for, Anya Hindmarch closed its doors for three days, completely filling the store with 90,000 discarded plastic water bottles and a post on the door explaining the cause. A limited selection of bags was pre-launched in February at London Fashion Week, and the complete four-color collection will be widely available in April. + Anya Hindmarch Images via Anya Hindmarch

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‘I Am a Plastic Bag’ is made from recycled single-use plastic bottles

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