Proof that old jeans never die
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.