Article No. 8852 M, named BIOPILE, is the first fabric whose pile fleece does not release any dangerous micro plastics, thus protecting rivers, lakes, seas and other creatures from such danger. What makes BIOPILE unique is its construction. The inner, brushed side of the fabric does not consist of polyester (as with conventional fleece), but 100% of Lenzing’s cellulosic fibre Tencel®. This fibre is biodegradable – even in marine water! Should the fabric release even the smallest of Tencel® particles from its brushed side during a washing process, these will decompose without residue in any environment in around 90 days, thus in no way endangering any living creatures. The material, which is currently available in three weight classes, is the latest highlight from PONTETORTO’s ECOSYSTEM family. 100% (recycled) polyester is used on the smoother outer surface, with other qualities also possible. BIOPILE combines all the benefits of higher functionality with an environmental consciousness, as Tencel® is considered a natural functional fibre with excellent climate regulating and moisture transporting properties. Additionally, Tencel® is the first fibre to be certified as biodegradable in marine water. BIOPILE does not irritate and is pleasant on the skin.
Initially, BIOPILE will be introduced exclusively for VAUDE products in the collection Fall/Winter 2018-19. The German family-owned outdoor brand point out with their new “Green Shape Core Collection” the future of innovative and sustainable outdoor sports gear, introducing some highly exclusive eco-fabrics such as Biopile Fleece, bio-based nylon or insulation with renewable Kapok fibres. This Green Shape Core Collection will first be presented on the trade shows Ethical Fashion Show in Berlin (Jan 16-18, 2018) and on ISPO Munich (Jan 28-31, 2018).
VAUDE’s CEO Antje von Dewitz: “Plastic pollution is a global problem with disastrous effects on marine life. Together with our textile industry partners we want to tacle the problem. And we are very proud to be the first brand to utilise a biodegradable fleece fabric. Within the next years we will intensify our R&D efforts, to avoid micro-plastics in the environment.”
Initiative against Micro-plastic release in Environment
VAUDE is a founding member of the cooperative project, “TextileMission”, which was launched on the 1st of September 2017. “TextileMission” pursues an interdisciplinary research approach, focusing in particular on two possible solutions. Firstly, by means of research into textile technologies and the optimisation of production processes, textiles are to be developed which have a significantly lower micro particle output compared to products currently available on the market. Textile researchers, together with the sportswear manufacturers involved, also test biodegradable fibres as an environmentally friendly alternative. Secondly, project partners wish to contribute to the optimisation of wastewater treatment technologies. “TextileMission” runs for a duration of three years and is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) with around 1.7 million Euro.
Microplastics in the oceans
Micro plasticity endangers the environment, and ends up in rivers, lakes and seas and accumulates in marine life, which is then consumed. Thus micro plastics enter the human body. In order to reduce its impact, plastic waste must be avoided. Not only bags and bottles are an issue, but also clothing made from synthetic fibres is a source of pollution. During the washing process, such garments (e.g. fleece pullovers) can release micro plastic particles from their brushed side.