Economic Development News & Insight


Let your clothes decompose!

/ January 19, 2015

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Let your clothes decompose!

How do you feel about throwing in your old worn out clothing with your decomposing food scraps?

Strange? Yes.

Possible? YES.

That is if you have the right clothing.  A Swiss manufacturer Freitag has come out with a new 100% biodegradable line of clothing. While most clothing is made out of cotton, the added threads, dyes, bleaches, buttons and tags prevent normal clothing from being decomposable.

Freitag has solved this issue by creating every element that goes into the clothing 100% biodegradable – material, thread, tags , even the buttons are made out of a kind of nuts, while the metal button on the jeans can be screwed off an reused.

Starting off by turning used truck tarps into bags, Freitag’s inspiration for the compost-friendly clothing came from a desire to create a life-cycle for the clothing rather than leaving old t-shirts to inevitably end up in the dumps.

So just what are these new fashionable feats made of?

A delicate mix of hemp, flax and modal (a fiber made from wood) make up the new fabric.

Despite its compost-capable skills, the clothing is entirely durable and was tested on their own factory workers during production.

While all the sewing happens in Poland, the flax and hemp are grown in France, the Netherlands and Belgium while the yarns are spun in Slovenia and Italy and the fabrics are made in Italy or Portugal. At the moment the clothing line is entirely made and sold in Europe as Freitag is avoiding the ‘usual global production process’.

As Oliver Brunschwiler of Freitag puts it ‘the problem we have in globalization is if you take cotton and it’s grown in Louisiana, for example, they ship it over to China and wash it and bleach it, then it gets sent back to Mexico and they make it into fabric, and then it gets sent back to China where they sew it and make shirts. (The shirts) have like 45,000 kilometers on their back before you can actually buy it somewhere.”

While the clothing company remains in Europe and has no plans for globalization, Freitag is considering eventually moving into the U.S.

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