Eco-friendly decor materials - Bringing these elements into your home
My couch is made from mango?
By Greer Krige
My couch is made from mango - nope, this isn't slang for something, but really it's a fact.
With the stratospheric rise in the adaptability of the plant-based diet, we've also seen this ethos filter into other lifestyle aspects. For example, take material made from organic plants and vegetables to create textiles previously reliant on either animal pelts or synthetic plastics, polymers, etc.
It's a fairly time-consuming process to make leather from mangos, and the mangos need to be pulped and dried and so on, but the end result is really remarkable, and you'd struggle to tell the difference when compared with genuine leather.
Mango "leather" is a vegan and highly sustainable material that was made popular initially in the Netherlands, where it's made from discarded mangoes. It thereby offsets the wastage of fruit- that would otherwise be thrown away. It is durable, can be water repellent if a natural wax is applied. It can be used to create handbags, shoes, wallets, belts, clothing, etc. and replace anything that traditional animal hide leather would be used for. And, of course, it's biodegradable and kinder to the planet.
Mango isn't the only flavour of the month. Other cellulose-rich fruits such as pineapples -Pinatex by British company Ananas Anam – use waste pineapple leaves from the Philippines in their textiles. In addition, mushrooms are utilized to make Mylo by Bolt Threads - an American biotech company; and areca palm leaves and apple by-products are also being incorporated into these plant-based leathers.
Although still a niche category, it is growing due to international brands like Hugo Boss and Volkswagen adopting them.
Cotton, flax, ramie, hemp, jute are other cellulosic fibre plants that are all sources capable of producing textiles and fabrics. That can be used to create knitted, woven, or nonwoven cloth material or fibre and yarn intended for fabric production. So why not in "leather" too?!
Hemp derivatives have multiple uses. It is a wonderful source of food, beauty products and fabrics for fashion and home décor applications.
Hemp fabric is eco-friendly, natural, warm, and antibacterial. It is durable and biodegradable. High in yield and water consumption is low – thus better for the planet, ideal for a more casual, organic décor style, rich in texture and comfort.
Linen is an eternally popular textile obtained from the flax plant. It is highly durable and loved for its natural creased look. Linen fabric is soft and durable and known for a beautiful handle and understated elegance as slipcovers for couches, chairs, breathable bedlinen and soft drapes and curtains varying from a dense, heavy weave to a translucent sheer - The ideal option for your home decor.
Cotton is completely biodegradable but does consume a fair amount of water in production- however, organic cotton is a better option in terms of being better for the environment and available widely for more conscious shoppers.
Jute is entirely compostable and recyclable. It is very sustainable and offers a large yield. The jute plant also absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and releases oxygen at a rate much higher than most tall trees. It is very popular in décor as chunky woven rugs- and even fitted carpets. Fits Complement a more natural décor look and pares beautifully with white and neutral colour schemes.
Bamboo fabric is smooth, silky, and very durable. It is naturally moisture-wicking and biodegradable. However, the process to turn the bamboo fibres into fabric does generate a fair amount of waste. And thus, it is less sustainable than other fabrics mentioned here.
Soy cashmere and silk fabrics: Soy fabric is an eco-friendly fabric that is derived from the hulls of soybeans leftover as waste from food production. Soy fabric is soft, silky and smooth in texture like silk but unlike silk- from the silkworm – is entirely vegan. It is also very durable and drapes beautifully. It's an excellent option for home textiles like bed sheets, pillow covers and creates a high-end luxurious style.
To embrace the eco-friendly – plant-based lifestyle- considering bringing these environmentally friendly fabric options into your wardrobe and home décor.