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Innovative Materials: Redefining What’s Possible

April 3, 2018

We know recycling and upcycling are key ways to reduce our impact on the planet. We also know that responsibly sourcing materials is equally important — it protects the environment and typically goes hand-in-hand with better labor practices.

So what’s next? A handful of intrepid businesses are pushing the boundaries of  sustainability by creating truly innovative materials that are redefining what’s possible. The work these businesses are doing isn’t just fascinating — it’s hugely important to the future of the planet. It cuts down on waste, reduces our carbon footprints, protects animals, supports ecosystems, keeps trash out of our oceans, and so much more.

These Good Companies break down into roughly two categories: those developing entirely new raw materials in an R&D-style approach, and those getting extra imaginative with how they use non-traditional materials that already exist.

Stella McCartney’s Pop Fragrance

Among the former, Stella McCartney is setting an excellent large-scale example. In 2017 alone they created an athletic shoe crafted from recycled ocean plastic and launched a fragrance which used biomimicry technology to capture scents without picking a single flower.

A biodagradable phone case by Pela

The Australian-based OORR creates their signature performance fabrics out of a new material made from discarded coffee grounds and recycled water bottles, while Pela developed a completely new plant-based material to craft their eco-friendly iPhone cases. Other businesses, like Kusaga, are focused on figuring out how to prevent products from ending up in landfills by inventing biodegradable and compostable fabrics.

When it comes to using existing materials in brand new ways, Little Lotus sets the bar fairly high with their sleeping bags and baby blankets crafted from Outlast® technology, which was first developed for NASA spacesuits and regulates body temperatures.

Rothy’s ballet flats made of recycled plastic

Darn Good Yarn sweeps up garment factory floor cuttings to make gorgeous yarns out of sari silk, banana fibers, hemp, newspaper, and more; PlanToys saves old rubber wood trees destined for burning, and repurposes sawdust to turn into whimsical children’s toys.

Eager to learn more? We get it! This is mind-boggling stuff. Check below for a full list of Good Companies thinking outside the box:

Bureo’s surfboard of recycled fishing nets