There is no doubt that marine plastic pollution has now reached epidemic proportions. In fact, the results are proving catastrophic for the environment. But, at Matthew Wailes, we've been studying ways in which we can help reduce the impact of plastic pollution in the ocean. So, read on to find out about our contribution as Matthew Wailes Ltd in partnership with The Carpet Maker Thailand.
Now, we can all do our bit towards reducing plastic waste by simply using far less. However, when it comes to manufacturing luxury goods, we wanted to investigate if there was anything else we could do. So, we consulted with one of our manufacturing partners, The Carpet Maker, in Thailand. As a result, we found we could transform clear plastic bottles into a unique textile fibre to create bespoke carpets and rugs.
After all, the volume of these discarded bottles creates such a huge problem. Take a trip to your local supermarket and you'll see how plastic bottles continue to be widely available to all. In fact, research reveals that people use nearly a million plastic bottles around the world every minute.
Plastic pollution facts
In Thailand, the residents are said to use around 4,000 million plastic bottles each year. In fact, this country has 23 coastal provinces and more than 10,000,000 tonnes of waste has ended up in the sea. So, it's no wonder this country is the fifth biggest plastic pollution contributor in the world.
These plastic pollution facts are just incredible. We hear the volume of plastic consumption all over the world has increased to more than 400 million tonnes in the last 100 years. However, as a luxury carpet and rug specialist, we felt it important to try to help where possible. In fact, we hope our discovery of upcycled yarn for the luxury UK market could help to springboard an eco-friendly future for all high-end carpet manufacturing.
Plastic debris is actually responsible for the deaths of millions of marine animals each year. Hard plastic is renowned for slicing the legs of sea turtles, for example. Meanwhile, other plastic rubbish can be mistaken for food, which will ravage a marine animal's digestive system.
In fact, a baby dugong which was washed up in waters off Thailand a few months ago recently died from a stomach infection caused by swallowing bits of plastic. Wildlife conservation organisations list this species as vulnerable and she was only eight months old. However, this has cast another spotlight on the issue of plastic pollution in the ocean.
Earlier this year, we started exploring how we could use plastic bottles in our bespoke carpet and rug manufacturing process in Thailand. As the country is already working on cleaning up its shores, a major part of their programme is the removal of plastic waste, including bottles, from the sea.
Working closely with our Thai manufacturers, we have formed a strong partnership helping to address plastic pollution in the ocean in cooperation with the country's Research & Innovation for Sustainability Centre (RISC). As a result, we now work with various upcycling plants in Thailand whose dedicated collectors retrieve discarded plastic waste from the sea. So, we remove plastic bottles from these sites to ultimately transform them into upcycled yarn. This innovative method will certainly help to reduce the problem of plastic pollution in the ocean.
Plastic bottles are converted into chip form, which are then spun using special techniques to ultimately produce spools of yarn. The bespoke carpet itself is then made using this upcycled yarn as a substitute for other fibres with a similar handle, such as silk or mercerised cotton.
Quality has always been key in everything we produce so, apart from reducing the environmental impact, this upcycled yarn has a whole host of other benefits, too. This is an innovative thread, which repels water and is stain and mildew resistant. After all, plastic from which the yarn derives is incredibly long-lasting. It's even flame retardant and features a velvety soft texture to the touch. So, this fibre will result in an easy to maintain rug or carpet, which will stand the test of time, look stylish and feel super soft underfoot, too.
When we learned of this new concept for luxury custom production for our products, we were excited. Our Thai manufacturers are now transforming plastics waste into new value-added products through this innovative approach. However, they also want to conserve the beauty of Thailand's sea in a sustainable manner, which we fully support.
In fact, we use the equivalent of 100 clear plastic bottles via our upcycled yarn for every square metre of bespoke carpet we are producing. So, you can only imagine the wide-ranging implications this could have for the luxury carpet and rug manufacturing industry long-term.
New bespoke collection
We officially launch LuxuryEco, our new collection of bespoke carpets and rugs made from upcycled yarn, next month. In fact, we have chosen Decorex International for the big reveal. After all, it is the only show of its kind for the luxury UK interior design industry.
There, we will showcase a carefully curated selection of bespoke carpets and rugs, all of which feature upcycled yarn. So don't forget to put our stand, M243, at the top of your list of must-sees at Kensington Olympia soon. This way, you will see how we are helping to combat plastic pollution in the ocean. Furthermore, you will experience some exquisite quality carpet and rug design ideas, featuring upcycled yarn, first-hand.