Oct 27, 2014 Joanna Mehtälä
The Pure Waste Team creates fabrics out of 100% recycled materials and wants to change the way we look at the industry. Slush News had the chance to get together with founders Anders Bengs and Kalle Määttä to discuss their story.
Pure Waste was born in October 2013, when a few founders of the Helsinki-based clothing company Costo decided to put into practice their plans of turning waste materials into fabric. Costo had been using surplus fabrics from factories during its whole existence, but the guys wanted to produce larger amounts of environmental-friendly materials to use. This way, they wouldn’t have to be reliant on other factories.
Today, Pure Waste creates high-quality fabrics and clothing out of factory waste that has previously only been used for second-class produce, such as insulation materials. The raw waste is collected from around the world and then carded into finer forms that are suitable for spinning yarn. Eventually, the recycled yarn can be used for knitting different kinds of fabrics. The materials are not dyed during the process; the color comes from the original waste material. This means that nothing new is added, as opposed to most recycled fabrics that are produced by mixing virgin materials into waste. Our cool Slush 2014 merchandise was created in this eco-friendly way by Pure Waste, too.
The company logo is a scarab, because scarabs are nature’s recyclers; they don’t see waste in a mound of manure, but potential for something new. This is the way of thinking at Pure Waste, too. They wanted to show that the value of the material doesn’t decrease during a recycling process. Instead, it is the only solution for turning the clothing industry green. “Nature doesn’t recognize the word waste. Neither do we,” says Määttä.
Why is using recycled cotton so important? In August, we had once again used up our planet’s natural resources for the year. The Earth cannot handle our style of living, and one of the most crucial problems is water usage. It takes a horrific amount of 2,700 litres of extra water to produce just one cotton t-shirt. At the moment, 2,6 % of the Earth’s surface – an area the size of Turkey – is used for growing cotton. This has, for instance, resulted in almost completely drying up the lake Aral. If recycled materials aren’t used, the problem will just keep on swelling. After all, it takes 10 years before you can grow organic cotton where there once was a regular cotton plantation.
What surprised the founders most about their new business was that nobody had done anything of the kind before. Now their goal is to become known as the company that revolutionized fabric production and to be in the midst of the world’s 100 best known brands in 10 years. On a smaller scale, the guys hope to save 100 million litres of water just this year in Finland.
The collaboration with Slush, which has already saved over six million litres of water, was born from the mutual desire to rethink and disrupt. Slush is the nest for new ideas that have the potential to better the world, and it is not only about mobile applications but also of different kinds of cleantech. Pure Waste see themselves as a sector in this future we want to build together, and Slush wants to get the message out there.
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