vor 3 Jahren

Issue 05/2018

  • Text
  • Bioplastics
  • Plastics
  • Biobased
  • Products
  • Materials
  • Biodegradable
  • Packaging
  • Compostable
  • Sustainable
  • Carbon

Fibers & Textiles

Fibers & Textiles Bioplastic fibres and textiles in The Outdoor Sports industry is aware of customer sensitivity for environmental concerns as well as global driving forces toward sustainable products. In this context, most Outdoor Sports brands are considering incorporating Green Materials in its collection, aiming to go away from fossil resources-dependency [1] . bioplastics MAGAZINE spoke to René Bethmann, Innovation Manager Materials and Manufacturing of VAUDE Sport GmbH & Co KG. Vaude is a modern family business and a sustainable innovative outdoor outfitter located in Tettnang, Germany. bM: Vaude offer a lot of textile products, such as clothing, backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, footwear etc. but also injection moulded products as parts of shoes, zippers, bags, accessories etc. How does Vaude position itself in terms of biopolymers/bioplastics? René Bethmann: Sustainability is part of Vaude´s DNA. It is something which we incorporated in every part within our business model going towards a common-wealtheconomy. Most of all Vaude has the aim to go away from finite, fossil resources. We want to position ourselves as the pioneer of sustainability in order to create a ripple effect throughout our industry. As we´re an Outdoor Sports company we have specific performance demands on our products that often only synthetic materials can achieve. That is what led us to looking into bioplastics. With them we could manage our goal to go away from fossil-based synthetics and move towards a new bioeconomy, bringing together renewable feedstock source and performance. bM: Does Vaude already offer products made of or with bioplastic fibres (textiles) or injection moulded components made of bioplastics? René Bethmann: At the beginning of this year, we have launched our Green Shape Core Collection (GSCC) which is now available in selected retail shops. This collection incorporates bioplastics as well as innovative natural fibres. GSCC features partly-biobased polyamide (PA 4.10) on both textile wovens and injection moulded parts, such as zipper teeth and sliplocks. It is for Vaude a starting point regarding the development of biobased materials. Among our footwear products, we have developed a TPU grade containing 65 % biobased content which is used for the toe cap and heel counter of the Skarvan hiking shoe. Important to mention is that in both cases the supply chains weren’t existing and needed to be established. So far, the challenge for consumer goods really lies in bringing bioplastics into our conventional supply chain and demand a market pull. bM: If we talk about bioplastics, is your main focus on biobased plastics (made from renewable resources in order to reduce our dependency on fossil resources and to reduce the carbon dioxide impact on the climate) or do you also look at biodegradable plastics? If so, where do you see the added value of using biodegradable/compostable materials? René Bethmann: With the vision to go away from the fossil economy towards the bioeconomy, renewable resources offer a more valuable raw material than crude oil and its use should be preferred whenever possible. Besides the environmental concerns about the fossil economy, the political and social aspects should be considered when choosing materials. To fulfil the circular design, we need durable materials to ensure a long lifespan for our products and to consider the best End-of-Life options by following the principles Repair, Reuse and Recycle. Paramount is to keep the valuable materials in the loop as long as possible and favour material to material before material to energy conversion. Biodegradable plastics offer a lot of new possibilities where you cannot easily retrieve the material from its environment or when a defined lifespan is required (e.g. specific medical textiles). But it is not a solution against littering. In the discussion about microplastics, the amount shed by textile products during laundering, biodegradable fibres seem to be a quick medicine. However, it doesn’t tackle the root problem, that is: fibres are released in the environment. Through the BMBF (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research) funded project TextileMission, Vaude, together with partners and stakeholders, is researching microfibre shedding and develop optimized process and material concepts. Furthermore, it is misleading to merely claim biodegradability without any standard specification. If a material or product is advertised to be biodegradable, further information about the timeframe, the level of biodegradation, the resulting products and their environmental impact and the required surrounding conditions should be provided, too. The high resource and energy intensity of the current production methods means that a large amount of value is lost when products are composted rather than recycled. Also, the actual nutrient value that can be restored to the soil is low for textile or plastic products. A certain amount of additive content is also always present in plastics and natural fibres which might not be biodegradable. When talking about biodegradable plastics/polymers, the additives and auxiliary chemicals should be also considered. A finished textile is also containing chemicals added during the processing steps, for example, dyestuff. 30 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/18] Vol. 13

Fibers & Textiles outdoor sports By: By Michael Thielen bM: What does Vaude need? What do you expect the bioplastics industry to do or to offer? René Bethmann: The Outdoor Sport market is very sensitive to the environmental preservation and customers make emotional connections with the products and the materials we provide. Nowadays the sustainable dimension gathers more attention than the performance of the product. However, most bioplastics are not developed for our industry. Their development is driven by high-performance applications as well as highvolumes markets. It means that we have to convince the conventional supply chains of the potential of bioplastics for Outdoor Sport application and together invest in making those technologies more attractive and common. It is not something that one single company can achieve on its own, it has to be a cross industry collective action. René Bethmann bM: Can you tell us a little bit about the topic coffee grounds for waterproofing (Ceplex green membrane)? René Bethmann: We are using recycled coffee grounds, which are collected from coffee shops and regenerated into a polyol, one building block of a polyurethane membrane. The membrane is then containing 25 % of regenerated coffee grounds. Apart from the eco-friendly benefits of the membrane, it offers a two times better odour control compared to a conventional PU membrane. Green Shape Core Collection bM: What exactly does the Green Shape label of Vaude eco stand for? René Bethmann: There are several certification bodies existing on the market but none of them covers the whole eco-conception of a product. Green Shape is Vaude’s own circular design concept and product label. It certifies to the customer that the product is been made according to the strictest standards available and that all stages of the product lifecycle are evaluated with sustainability criteria. Green Shape is continuously updated to follow technological innovations and is being defined by an interdisciplinary team inside Vaude. The End-of-Life aspect is still a challenging topic with the current state of recycling facilities around the world. It is nevertheless an important factor for us in order to close the loop entirely. Skarvan Shoe bM: What are your future plans? What ideas do you have in mind that you want to pursue? René Bethmann: We are establishing, together with our partners, supply chains to make biobased plastics more accessible for the Outdoor Sport industry. There is still a lot of work needed to educate suppliers, retailers, brands and end-consumers to what really is a better environmental choice for our products and how bioplastics fit in that decision. It will underline our efforts towards a new bioeconomy. And René Bethmann concludes the interview: It is important to look what the other industries are doing, which all have their own focus and expertise. It is important for us to keep a long-term vision when talking about sustainability whereas our industry is thinking often on a short time rhythmed by seasons. Moreover, we have a unique chance to bring a biobased product which will be directly in contact with end -consumer, who will emotionally react with it. It is the opportunity to create a momentum for the biobased industry. bM: Thank you very much. [1] Bethmann, R., Affholder, C.: Green Material Strategy – Synthetics, Vaude ( | Green Shape Core Collection bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/18] Vol. 13 31

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