A single industrial fabric mill or coating plant can generate 250 tons of trim waste each year, and savvy businesses send uncoated fabric trim to recyclers that turn it back into fiber and yarn. However, economical processes to separate fibers from coated fabrics (used for tents, waterproof clothing or billboards) aren’t available, so the final resting place for coated fabric trim is often a landfill. Enkad Sciences, a San Diego, Calif., company developed to help businesses manage, mitigate and dispose of their post-industrial wastes, had a better idea.
The charpai (or charpoy), a wood frame with a woven jute or hemp surface, is used throughout southwest Asia as a seat, cot or table. While jute and hemp are renewable, they are not durable; after a few years of weather and use, the woven surface must be replaced. Flat synthetic coated fabric recycled into twine and woven on a charpai frame produces a rugged, lightweight and more comfortable resting place—while transforming a waste into a better, cheaper raw material. Enkad Sciences estimates that southwest Asia is home to 150 million charpais “representing an overall demand spectrum of 1.5 billion pounds of selvage at 100-percent saturation.” The coated fabric plant reduces its waste management bills, the twine manufacturer has better and cheaper raw material, and the end user has more durable furniture and a comfortable night’s rest.