AN­DREW DENT

Azure - - 2017 TRENDS -

Ma­te­rial Con­nex­ion’s vice-pres­i­dent of li­brary and ma­te­ri­als re­search is one of the lead­ing ex­perts in ed­u­cat­ing brands such as Ikea and Adi­das on sus­tain­able ma­te­rial al­ter­na­tives. We wanted to know his thoughts on whether the world is ready to go green.

Have we reached a point where sus­tain­able ma­te­ri­als, like bio­plas­tics, will in­evitably re­place harm­ful plas­tics?

Not yet, but what a lot of com­pa­nies have be­gun to do is cre­ate cap­sule eco-col­lec­tions. H&M does it with its con­scious col­lec­tion. there was a time when com­pa­nies wor­ried this might con­tam­i­nate the line with prod­ucts that are in­fe­rior in some way, but they’ve be­gun to re­al­ize con­sumers will pay for a sus­tain­able prod­uct, to show their green cre­den­tials. Adi­das, for in­stance, has come out with a shoe made from dis­carded fish­ing nets and ocean trash. Be­ing pur­pose­fully green does point out that the rest of their shoes aren’t that great en­vi­ron­men­tally, but that doesn’t hurt the brand over­all.

Is there a sec­tor where bio­plas­tics are grow­ing?

It is be­com­ing a vi­able so­lu­tion for ar­chi­tec­ture in­te­ri­ors, for one, and I think that will keep grow­ing as more peo­ple find out about them. What would cause a ma­jor shift is trans­parency. We’ve seen with LEED there is a will­ing­ness to think about end of use, for in­stance. If peo­ple know what is go­ing into the build­ings they live and work in, they’ll want to know about al­ter­na­tive so­lu­tions. that’s a step in the right di­rec­tion. All those face­less en­gi­neers and all those peo­ple who love por­ing over data…i love those peo­ple be­cause it’s bor­ing work, but it forces brands and de­sign­ers to rec­og­nize there are bet­ter ways to pro­duce prod­ucts. those peo­ple who show us how to quan­tify are an im­por­tant step to­ward trans­parency.

What nat­u­ral ma­te­rial has the most po­ten­tial to take off?

I like al­gae. It’s a su­per-biopoly­mer be­cause it can eas­ily be pro­duced in large amounts, and it can do so many things, in­clud­ing heat­ing houses and fuel­ing cars. It can also be col­lected al­most any­where – from a small pond to mas­sive, in­dus­tri­al­ized stain­less steel vats – and with­out us­ing up valu­able arable land. Al­gae has great po­ten­tial. It’s not there yet, but it’s get­ting there.

↑ Al­gae is con­sid­ered one of the most promis­ing sources of re­new­able plas­tics. this dried al­gae is from Al­gix of Mis­sis­sippi, which com­bines fish farm­ing and al­gae biomass pro­duc­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.