As promised in my last entry, I’d like to present you another one in the series of researching new sustainable materials.
Apinat BIO® is a series of bioplastics developed by API, Italian producer of thermoplastics. The line consists of soft, biodegradable elastomers (a first in the world, they claim!) suitable for various applications. I came across Apinat BIO® via Stella McCartney’s site. They said they’ve been using Apinat BIO® biodegradable plastics in shoe soles already in 2010. Apinat’s own website offers a bit contradictory information as there it is said that they’ve made an exclusivity deal with Puma, granting Puma exclusive use of Apinat BIO® in the footwear sector. Puma will be first using the material in their 2013 Spring/ Summer collection, in the sole of a sneaker called InCycle Basket. (Also Stella McCartney website says they have Apinat biodegradable plastics soles in their summer 2013 collection. Perhaps they have different product types then and the deal with Puma is for one of them.)
Anyway, regardless of the deals I think it is an interesting material.
The sustainability claims of Apinat BIO® are backed up by international standards for recyclability and biodegradability (EN 13432/EN 14995 in Europe, ASTM D 6400 in the USA). They also have an international patent for the product line. In practise, the material is made of renewable raw materials and it degrades by at least 90% within 6 months if placed in a compost.
The co-operation project with Puma seems interesting, too. Puma’s InCycle collection, where they are using the biodegradable sole material, is part of a co-operation project called called Bring Me Back that they run with global recycling company I:CO. The program aims at collecting used products back for recycling, and the program site says they don’t collect just the Puma stuff but people can bring any clothes and shoes to the Bring Me Back bins. I didn’t make a complete sense out of the relationship between the InCycle collection and this recycling campaign, if they actually are somehow utilizing the collected stuff as a base for raw materials in the newcoming InCycle collections. Anyway, Puma’s InCycle collection has been granted a label called 100% Cradle-to-Cradle Basic Certified (CM) and it seems to be the second world’s first in this blog entry.
I was planning to link this somehow to the lecture topic of convenience, but all these labels and standards and patents and trademarks make my head ache. I guess that my personal feeling of the moment is that (regarding the clothing industry) through new material, technological and process innovations a mass-market sustainable convenience offering can be reached, as opposed to niche products/ brands such as Globe Hope. (Though I’m not sure if our planet runs out of time before we reach that state). Also, this InCycle campaign of Puma brought back to my mind Angelina’s comment on the lecture that the recycling industry will become a major industry in the future, due to resource scarcity. As a note to self, and the whole Internet, I’d like to know more about that.