One metre of fabric uses 12 recycled plastic bottles bought from local plastic collectors, creating job opportunities and preventing the bottles from ending up in our rivers and oceans.

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(By Anne Roselt)

Last week looking for inspiration and sustainable fabrics, I was excited to come across the imminent launch of a range of beautiful, soft woven fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles…

While they weren’t the natural fabrics I had in mind, here was a fabric house really stepping up to the challenge of making a difference for the good of people and the environment.

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The Vision

The fabrics are being launched by The House of Canvex, a relatively young brand established in 2014 by some passionate individuals with a wealth of industry experience.

Their vision is to create beautiful and imaginative designs that transform and enhance, while making a difference through the use of the finest quality sustainable materials that are sourced locally.

Image: Anne Roselt

The Fabrics

The launch includes four quality fabrics made from recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate (rPET). To clarify, PET is a highly recyclable plastic resin and a form of polyester.

In addition, the 100% local rPET waste is woven, designed and printed locally, using energy-efficient methods and non-toxic, water-based inks.

While the fabrics I saw were more suitable for curtains and cushion covers, the full range will include many applications including upholstery and outdoor furniture.

While the fabrics I saw were more suitable for curtains and cushion covers, the full range will include many applications including upholstery and outdoor furniture.

Why rPET

Plastic bottles take about 700 years to decompose and when breaking down they become microplastic pieces which cause a lot of harm to our ecosystems.

An estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic waste ends up in our oceans every year, yet despite the huge concern we as consumers continue to consume and discard the continuous production of virgin plastics.

According to research, rPET fabric uses 85% less energy to create when compared to virgin polyester, resulting in 65% fewer emissions and 90% less water required to manufacture.

  • 100% locally made
  • 100% South African PET waste
  • Soft to the touch and ideal for window treatments
  • 25 000 rub count makes it suitable for Upholstery
  • Custom prints are possible
  • All weaving, design, printing and distribution is done in-house
  • Local and international delivery
  • Affordable
  • Great quality
Image: Anne Roselt

While it is not the perfect solution, by manufacturing fabric from recycled plastic bottles, the House of Canvex are turning something that can be destructive into something lasting and beautiful.

I can’t help imagining if rPET was mandatory for use in all plastic products, how many jobs it could create and how cleaner the environment would be.

Above all we owe it to future generations to reduce our carbon footprint and ease the strain on our fragile environment.

I will continue to keep a look out for sustainable products and materials in the interior design industry and keep you posted. Would love to know your thoughts on fabric made from recycled plastic bottles (recycled polyester) as well as other sustainable fabrics.

Please leave a comment if you have come across any you recommend.

For more information on the fabric, including the heavier basecloths, contact Vida Herbert from House of Canvex vidah@houseofcanvex.com

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