Proof that old jeans never die

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

In the United States, up to 11 mil­lion tonnes of clothes find their way into land­fills ev­ery year but one com­pany is sav­ing many thou­sands of tonnes of un­wanted denim from the rub­bish dump by turn­ing it into home in­su­la­tion.

The novel form of in­su­la­tion is known as denim in­su­la­tion.

It was de­vel­oped over 35 years by United States com­pany Bonded Logic and sold as Ul­traTouch In­su­la­tion.

It con­tains 80 per cent re­cy­cled nat­u­ral fi­bres from stone-washed, acid-washed or per­haps nev­er­washed denim.

Denim has all the prop­er­ties of a good in­su­la­tion ma­te­rial.

Its lower den­sity re­duces its ther­mal con­duc­tiv­ity, which means it min­imises the trans­fer of heat from one ma­te­rial (such as a home) to an­other (the air around a home). As a re­sult, denim in­su­la­tion ri­vals fi­bre­glass in its abil­ity to be a bar­rier to heat and sound.

The raw denim is re­cy­cled and pro­cessed be­fore it be­comes in­su­la­tion .

The process be­gins with sep­a­rat­ing the denim from other ma­te­ri­als, fol­lowed re­mov­ing zip­pers, but­tons and hard­ware from the fab­ric.

Next, it heads for large shred­ders that grind the ma­te­rial to pieces.

The chewed-up denim moves to a baler, which pro­duces 450kg bales.

The fol­low­ing stage un­weaves the denim, re­turn­ing the textile to its orig­i­nal fi­bre state.

This is the raw ma­te­rial, which looks a bit like blue can­dyfloss.

This is treated with a bo­rate so­lu­tion so the in­su­la­tion will not burn and will re­pel mould and mildew.

This ma­te­rial is fixed with an­other fi­bre with ev­ery­thing brought to­gether in a large oven.

Fi­nally, the in­su­la­tion ma­te­rial is formed into 5cmthick rolls and cut into its ship­ping size. Like other nat­u­ral in­su­la­tion prod­ucts, denim re­quires no health warn­ings.

It does not cause itch­ing or ir­ri­ta­tion and can be in­stalled with­out gloves, safety gog­gles or a dust mask.

Fur­ther­more, its mak­ers claim that un­like some ma­te­ri­als which give off toxic vapours or volatile or­ganic com­pounds once in­stalled, denim in­su­la­tion sits inertly in walls and floors, block­ing the flow of heat with­out re­leas­ing harm­ful chem­i­cals or ir­ri­tants.

The mak­ers claim denim out­per­forms con­ven­tional batts in noise-re­duc­tion co­ef­fi­cient val­ues that com­monly range from zero (re­flects all sound) to one (ab­sorbs all sound) but it is pos­si­ble to have a value above one, de­pend­ing on the ma­te­rial’s shape or sur­face area.

United States-made fi­bre­glass batts mea­sur­ing 9cm thick de­liv­ered a noise re­duc­tion value of 0.90 to 0.95.

The same thick­ness of denim scored 1.15.

FOR­EVER IN BLUE JEANS: Denim in­su­la­tion is an eco-friendly in­su­la­tion op­tion avail­able in the United States which is made from old denim clothes. It’s all­round per­for­mance is sim­i­lar to fi­bre­glass in­su­la­tion with the same ease of han­dling ad­van­tages of wool in­su­la­tion.

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