October 10, 2011

Craft Felts are Eco Friendly and Easy to Work With

Happy Monday to everyone out there in creative crafty land!  Coming to you from the sunny studios in Phoenix where the temperatures are starting to go back up again!  With the fall actually here though many of us are thinking about craft felts.  Felt is a great product to utilize in fall and winter projects as it tends to be durable and comes in an array of great colors, shapes and sizes.

A week or so ago when I was at my local Walmart picking up a Chocolate Brown Giani Granite paint kit I stumbled down the crafting aisle.  Without thinking too much about it I spotted the black felt I knew was going to be perfect for the bottom of the coasters I'm making out of reclaimed azek (stay tuned for that feature on Wednesday!) and chocolate faux granite.

It went in the cart, I purchased, brought it home and started going to work on the faux finish.  As I was peeling the sticker from the felt to begin measuring for the coaster base I noticed a little "eco-fi" symbol and, once I pulled out my magnifying glass, was able to read the reason for the distinction:
"high-quality polyester fiber made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles"
Wow, cool!  So of course I immediately set out to look up the company, the product specifically, and determine its Greenness as I wanted to include that information in my shop listing for sure.  In even teenier letters that I had to yank out a microscope to read, I saw the name of the company was Foss Manufacturing and they had a website.

After a whole lot of reading I learned that they:
  • Are located in New Hampshire
  • Are a needle-punch based manufacturer (non-woven)
  • Have a mantra - "Do it right the first time"
  • Create fabrics for a multitude of industries like medical, footwear, marine, residential, roofing and more
And then I discovered that eco-fi Craft Felts are produced and distributed by Foss' partner company the Kunin Group.  On their website was a link to a pdf on eco-fi Felt.  In short there are some really great benefits to this type of material:
  • 10 bottles - 1 pound of fiber.  This is huge, consider what a single sheet of craft felt weighs and how many sheets can be made for people just like us who use this material in their everyday products!
For example, they note that a 4'x6' outdoor rug could be created using just 48 bottles; it would only take 90 bottles to upholster the backseat of a car in eco-fi.
  • It is colorfast and shrink resistant. 
Which is fantastic for designers creating washable items as they can ensure a more stable product!

Plastic bottles don't shrink and they never break down completely.  They simply flake until they create hazards for wildlife and humans by ending up in waterways or leeching harmful chemicals into the Earth.  A product made with eco-fi can help keep some of the 51 billion bottles a year that the US uses from wasting away in a landfill / Pacific Garbage Island for the next 700 years!

Perhaps the processing of the plastic causes emissions, perhaps the overall fact that plastic bottles are still being used is a sad statement on a society that should definitely know better by now.  But personally, regardless of the counterarguments (which are reality), I feel great about buying a product that is trying to take all of those sad statements and turn them into happy faces!

When I list my coaster sets in a couple days I'm going to do it with the full knowledge that:

- No stone was quarried to create the granite that I'm offerring
- My product has one of the lowest VOC ratings (as compared to similar products on the market)
- The base substrate (azek) came from a teammate, entrepreneur and reclaimed source
- The 100% post-consumer content the entire piece is resting on will make anyone's drink slide around a little easier!

I'm thinking of naming these sets the Lifecycle Extender Series there is so much awesomeness in them!

I definitely suggest looking into this durable, easy to work with, soft and varied color material for your next project that involves purchasing new Craft Felts!

1 comment:

Almost Precious said...

Wonderful post about what sounds like a great product.
When plastics were invented they were heralded as a scientific breakthrough. Little did we know the negative impact they would have on our lives and on our planet. Truthfully though it is not the fault of plastic as much as it's the fault of humanity for being so careless with our garbage and our resources. There are times when I wonder if mankind is not as superior as we'd like to think ... matter of fact I'm counting on dolphins to usurp humanity in the near future and become the next superior race.