Making messenger bags and wallets out of upcycled truck tarps wasn’t green enough for the Swiss company Freitag. Sure, those products are giving plastic a second life, but it’s still plastic, which means it could still end up in a landfill … or an ocean. With Freitag’s newest project, F-ABRIC, you can wear a cute outfit, wear it out, and then — just like the planet-loving fashionista you are — throw it in your backyard compost heap, where it’ll biodegrade within a few months.
Although natural fabrics like hemp, cotton, and wool should theoretically be compostable, most of the globe’s mass-produced clothing includes non-organic stuff like industrial dyes and polyester threads. Not Freitag’s. Hemp, flax, wood fiber — even the shirt buttons are made out of nuts. The only non-compostable ingredients here are the metal buttons on the pants — but don’t panic! These can be unscrewed and reused, depending on your level of dedication.
Company descriptions of the compostable fabric make it seem kind of like meth: a little scratchy on the skin, but habit-forming! From TakePart:
It may feel rougher compared to other materials at first touch. But according to the company, test runs indicate that wearers “will soon be addicted to its feel.”
And sorry, Americans, F-ABRIC is only manufactured and sold in Europe — so far. That’ll change fast, though, says Freitag, and it can’t happen soon enough:
Americans only donate or recycle 15 percent of their clothing, sending more than 10 million tons of discarded garments to landfills every year. Alongside paper and food waste, textile has one of the lowest recycling rates of all reusable materials in the country.
Ouch. Until we can all tuck this oh-so-stylish biodegradable workdress into our closets and compost heaps, there’s yet another excellent reason to shop at thrift stores.