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Sustainability

Our Eco Statement

‘Furnishings maketh the room’, and we endeavour to ‘not trasheth the planet’!

Alongside the ever-important functions of aesthetic and performance we earnestly and constantly endeavour to tread lightly on our one and only planet. There is more to the topic of ecological sustainability and wellness than meets the eye!

At Materialised we take our responsibility to the environment very seriously, and we want to tell you why we do what we do:

Why We Select To Use Polyester As A Fibre

Our approach to sustainability is viewed through the prism of appropriateness, and for Contract Furnishings polyester, with its stability, built in flame retardancy, toughness and longevity, is in our opinion the most appropriate choice.

Why We Choose To Transfer Print

This method of printing gives many, many advantages over conventional wet printing. Because the design is printed in-house onto a transfer paper and then transferred by heat and pressure into the fabric (AKA Dry Dying) We use virtually no water, there is no wasteful speculation, the designs reproduce like magazine quality and it gives the client infinite choice options simply not otherwise available.

What Is The Greenest Thing We Can Do To Make Sure The Fabric Is Suitable For Its Intended Purpose

We consider the chain of factors involved in the furnishing of Hotels, Health facilities and other such spaces. Consideration of the performance is top of that list.  Products that shrink, crease, are not durably flame retardant and consume massive amounts of energy to maintain are extremely poor value by any measure, and usually result in unhappy owners and occupiers, inevitably resulting in premature replacement. That is ecological vandalism.  

What Goes Out Of Our Chimney    

Clean Air! The process of digital printing has very little emission and what fume is emitted is captured in our Carbon Activated Filtration system. Other items are recycled… Transfer paper is pulped and returned to useful service. Remnants, discontinued patterns and obsolete samples are donated to charities like Habitat for Humanity, The Beauty Bank and various craft groups teaching employable sewing skills etc.

Tread Lightly On The Planet

Our Policy On Ecological Sustainability

Everything we do impacts upon our planet. Materialised takes this responsibility very seriously and strives to see that our materials, processes and recycling activities leave the smallest possible ecological footprint. Our approach is to look at − and objectively measure − the overall ecological toll. That evaluation goes all the way downstream from the source of raw materials, to initial production, to life extension and all the way to disposal at the end of the product’s life.

This is why Materialised has chosen to specialise in the use of flame retardant modified polyesters: they perform better, last longer, are less expensive and we believe they have a lighter impact upon our environment, for our specific market segment.

Safety, of course, is the most important criterion. When printing, we employ a dye sublimation process that does not interfere with the polyester material’s ability to retard flame and is significantly gentler on our planet than other printing methods. Further, when exposed to flame, modified polyester gives off far lower levels of toxic fumes than topical flame retardant treated products, and its performance lasts the life of the fabric.

Fibres

In terms of production and treatment, each class of fibre carries its own ecological cost. Comparisons reveal few unchallengeable winners, especially if one looks at the broader context. For example, at first glance it may seem that a naturally-grown product like cotton has an advantage over a synthetic fibre produced by petro-chemicals and natural gas. However, when one factors in the ‘eco-cost’ of cotton’s very high demand for water (29,000 L/Kg) and insecticides (10 to 18 applications of herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides, leaving aside the impacts of dyeing and printing) the picture becomes much less clear.

Wool production, too, brings its own set of ecological disadvantages – especially when it is being scoured and dyed. 170,000 litres of water are required to produce 1 Kg of wool and soil compaction, soil erosion and methane emissions need to be factored into the equation.

Popular perception is that polyester and nylon fibres come from a limited and non-renewable source, which is true. However, the quantity of oil used in producing textiles, resins etc., is a negligible proportion of total world consumption, (at most estimate is less than 1%).

Processes

Whilst there are some aspects of production that limit one’s ability to significantly reduce the ecological cost of fibre production, impressive strides are continuing to be made in the ways that fibres are processed.

For a start, Materialised deals with fabric and ingredient suppliers who share our commitment to ecological responsibility. These include Trevira, and Avora (fibre producers) and paper suppliers Transfertex and Transprint USA (the latter claims to use less water turning out millions of metres of paper annually, than their staff put into their coffee!).

The process we have adopted for printing is virtually water free in contrast to the thirsty traditional printing.

The ‘transfer paper’ involved in what is known as DYE SUBLIMATION HEAT TRANSFER is recycled. All fume outputs whilst non-toxic, are still filtered through pads of activated carbon to insure only thing that leaves our facility is clean air.

Maintenance

Both financially and ecologically, the cost of cleaning and maintaining fabrics must be an important consideration when choosing making choices.

The difference can be significant, as the following example shows. Not only are polyester bedspreads 36% less costly to create and last 3.3 times as long compared with equivalent flame-retardant treated cotton spreads, they also require significantly less energy and detergents to wash and dry.

Recyling/Upcyling

Head to our recycling page for all information and charity partners.

WeaveUp

On the sustainability topic, we believe one of the features of our WeaveUp program is how we have reduced the literally tens of thousands of metres producing samples speculatively, by only creating a sample once the product is likely to be used, on demand!