It’s no myth that ocean plastic has become a more prominent issue in recent years – as science advances we are beginning to understand what a big impact plastic in our oceans is having on us and the world. As such, it is more vital than ever that we each do our part to ensure that there is a future for both our oceans and our children. It’s not just individuals that need to be environmentally conscious. It’s important that brands do their best to be sustainable too, and Normann Copenhagen has paired with Camira Fabrics, who works with the SEAQUAL initiative, to create a fabric made 100% from recycled post-consumer plastic. This fabric is available as an option for various Normann Copenhagen furniture items, and is a beautiful option to show your support for a sustainable lifestyle, while still keeping your home stylish. But, before we talk more about the fabric, let’s discuss how some plastic bottles discarded in the ocean managed to become a chair.
It all begins with plastic – whether that be a plastic bag, a water bottle, an ice cream container, or even a straw. The biggest culprits are plastic water bottles – over 1 million are sold every minute globally – and single use plastic bags, of which 500 billion are used yearly. Most of these plastic items are unfortunately not recycled, and land up in landfills, or even worse, discarded on beaches, near streams, or estuaries. Even plastic discarded on streets often makes its way to the ocean somehow, through ending up in drains, or being washed downstream by rainfall or blown by wind. Plastic itself has a long lifespan, lasting anywhere from 20 to 500 years, so, unless properly discarded, plastic can easily find its way to the ocean over the decades.
About 5% of plastic ends up on beaches or coastlines, usually larger plastic items, such as cartons or bottles. 1% of plastic ends up floating on the ocean surface, mostly larger and lighter items, such as polystyrene packaging and plastic bags. However, over 94% ends up on the seafloor, and most of this plastic is “microplastics.” Microplastics are small plastic pieces, less than 5 millimetres long, and can be from plastic pellets used in industrial manufacturing, personal care products, or synthetic textiles, and nearly half of all microplastic are broken down pieces from larger items, such as bags, packaging, and bottles. While plastic does last a long time, it is still prone to breaking down. UV rays, friction, and ocean salt can cause plastics to degrade quickly and break into smaller pieces, which join in with the other microplastics. While they may be small, they are increasingly common in marine debris. Over 83% of worldwide drinking water samples contained microplastics, and marine animals and seabirds consume even more, affecting the whole food chain and causing long term health effects, many of which aren’t even fully known yet.
Now that we’ve established the importance of ocean clean ups, we can look at how companies like Camira Fabrics are doing their part. Camira Fabrics works with SEAQUAL Initiative, who in turn works with various fishermen, NGOs, and individuals, who take part in beach clean ups and seafloor cleaning. Through this method, SEAQUAL Initiative has managed to remove over 600 tons of waste from the ocean, 200 tons of which has been turned into upcycled plastic.
SEAQUAL Initiative then takes the waste which has been gathered, and sorts through it, separating plastics from other materials, such as metals or organic material, which is then disposed of responsibly. Once the plastic is separated, it is thoroughly washed, and broken down into smaller plastic flakes. These flakes are then heated and processed into smaller beads, about the size of a fingernail, and which can easily be broken down into other products, and are then sold to various brands, in over 60 countries. Camira Fabrics is one of these brands, and from then on, they are able to manufacture these beads into a highly durable twill weave, aptly named Oceanic Fabric.
Made 100% from these beads, about 1 meter of the fabric is equivalent to 26 discarded plastic bottles, and about 4 meters is equal to 1 kg of waste. The weave itself creates a subtle pattern, making it strikingly beautiful, and using non-metallic dyestuffs, the fabric is then available in 16 shades, ranging from soft pastels, such as “Gulf”, “Seafarer”, “Paddle”, and “Riptide” to bolder colours, like “Atoll”, “Coral”, Neptune”, and “Jetsam”.
Normann Copenhagen then takes the Camira Fabric and uses it as upholstery for various Normann Copenhagen furniture items, such as their Era, Hygge, and Form series. The beautiful design of this furniture is only highlighted by the use of the Camira Fabric, and is a great addition to any household, to show off your love for the environment and support for upcycling post-consumer plastic.
Of course, while a fabric like this is quite beautiful, and SEAQUAL Initiative, does a lot of great work both locally and globally, it would be even more beautiful if we had no plastic waste at all. We at Instant Services highly encourage all our customers to be conscious about what items they buy, and the waste it may create when discarded. With each purchase, it is important to consider the effect of the raw materials, manufacturing process, the packaging materials, and the carbon footprint from shipping and transportation. The first step to a cleaner world starts with ourselves. Instant Services is working with Normann Copenhagen to create a more sustainable product-to-consumer plan to help reduce our environmental impact. Stay tuned and subscribe to our blogs to find out more about how we plan to do this and check out our other blogs at www.instantservices.com.