Shredding + Rebonding Textiles

This is what I’m curious about lately — shredding and rebonding textiles. It started when I was cleaning my living room rug. I noticed the pad under the rug was made up of bits and pieces of salvaged foam. I’ve always liked the look of this material. It’s classic — like a quilted moving blanket or a cast iron pan. carpet padding

One of the problems we face with the fashion industry is the amount of waste. What if we mined that waste and used it as a resource. We could grind up fashion that is no longer wanted and turn it into a new classic textile. Something that is so unique and performs so well that it could not be ignored.

Let’s back up and see how carpet padding is actually made? This type of padding is called rebonded polyurethane. This video shows how scraps of foam are ground into smaller bits. The bits are then bound together with chemicals and steam into something like a giant loaf of bread which can then be cut into usable slices.

Could we do something similar in a more organic way but with textile scraps instead of foam? Textile shredders already exist. What if each of our town dumps had a textile shredder that could grind up textile waste and resell it?

The shredded textile on its own could be useful as filling but let’s take it one step further. Could these textile scraps be rebound into a new iconic fabric? It seems like a solvable problem. In the end, we could end up with a gorgeous terrazzo-like fabric.
blue terrazzoInstead of seeing bits of marble or glass we could see bits of jeans or flannel. The material could become a new classic like a herringbone or gingham.
colorful terrazoTo achieve this terrazzo look we’d need to make the fabric the way felt is made. If you think it sounds complicated just think about how silk is made.

What do you think? It’s crazy, right? I think it’s time. It’s time for a Fashion Revolution.

Dumpster Diving

DumpsterDive1
Illustration by Genna DeGroot, Creative Director at PLAN: Post-Landfill Action Network

I went on my first dumpster dive the other day. Now that I’ve done it, I think everyone should experience it. Nothing compares to being inside a dumpster and seeing first hand what people throw out. To learn more read my blog post over on The Sound.