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Sustainability: good business

June 1, 2017

Rainier Industries succeeds with a light footprint and a firm handshake. For Rainier Industries Ltd., sustain-ability is more than just a buzzword—it’s a way of doing business. Although often associated with high expenses, Rainier president and CEO Scott Campbell considers sustainability an initiative that makes business sense. “It’s actually pretty easy and saves money,” he …

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Building markets in Ukraine

March 1, 2017

Ukraine plans to attract $300 million for the development of domestic technical textiles and nonwovens industries. According to recent statements from the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers, Ukraine plans to attract up to $300 million USD worth of investments for the development of the domestic technical textiles and nonwovens industries over the next several years. This …

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From old to new: a glimpse into recycling technology

January 4, 2017

Recycling discarded materials into usable other things requires considerable effort and investment, but more companies are doing just that. Take Serge Ferrari North America, a Pompano Beach, Fla.-based manufacturer of flexible composite membranes used globally by numerous markets. In 1996, the company began exploring the idea of recycling its materials for the print and tent …

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When to count income

January 1, 2017

Get ready for new guidelines on ‘revenue recognition.’ Sometimes accounting rules and the tax law are logical and equitable; sometimes they aren’t. One question always seems to surface: When is a business’s revenue considered “income”? The time to claim income and deductions is dictated by rules or laws, not by a business owner’s opinion. Accounting …

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Price and value in the agricultural markets

October 11, 2016

Profit margins are tight for a lot of industries, but this is especially true in the agricultural arena, where profits can be wiped out—in some cases virtually overnight—by events beyond the control of growers and producers. Consequently, pricing has become a huge concern for all involved, say manufacturers of fabric agricultural products designed to mitigate …

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Sustainability: public engagement

October 15, 2015

Raising awareness of fabric recycling and re-using keeps the conversation going. With the proliferation of social media, the general public has become accustomed to interacting with companies as well as each other. And companies increasingly appreciate the importance of being part of the larger conversation. Insularity is no longer a protection of corporate advantage. In …

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How to survive through 2035

October 6, 2015

With a projected global population of 9 billion in 2050, demand for natural resources is rapidly increasing, specifically for coal, gas and oil—resources upon which the industrial textiles industry heavily depends for raw materials. “Once they’re gone, they’re gone,” says Steve Jesseph, chief operating officer at Integrated Consulting Group, an international consulting organization specializing in …

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Making the rounds

October 1, 2015

Textile waste is gaining new life through closed-loop processes, creating more products (and some profits) in more industries. Forty-five years ago, Kermit (the frog) lamented, “It’s not easy bein’ green.” Environmentally speaking, it still may not be easy, but it’s becoming less difficult every day—and more profitable. “We introduced a recycled fabric prototype 15 years …

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Loopy thinking

September 17, 2015

From yarn to fabric, and back to yarn: recycling and repurposing materials. For companies with vision, strategic moves often require a leap of faith. In 2012, Designtex began using yarn produced from recycled fabric waste it had accumulated. “At the time, we were not sure if we would be successful in making a first-quality yarn,” …

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Recycle, upcycle

September 1, 2014

Commercial interior fabrics routinely take on a second life. Does it pay to be green? Yes, it may cost more to initiate the practice when it comes to manufacturing recyclable fabrics for use in commercial interiors—just as with most innovative initiatives—but down the road, it can pay off nicely. Plus, those not on the bandwagon …

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Detroit Lions partner with Unifi

August 21, 2014

Players will wear Repreve® jerseys. The Detroit Lions National Football League (NFL) team has selected Unifi’s Repreve recycled fiber brand as its official sustainability partner. Yarn manufacturer Unifi transforms recycled materials, including post-industrial waste and used plastic bottles, into a recycled fiber named Repreve. Lions players will wear Repreve jerseys, each made from 21 recycled …

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Getting creative

August 1, 2014

Certified green “There are 107 textile environmental labels in our markets,” says Paul Taylor of Camira Fabrics Ltd. “You have to balance trying to drive the improvement of the product or process with how much it takes in resources to get the label.” These four certifications are among the most widely recognized: NSF/ANSI 336 NSF/ANSI …

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Cotton Inc. wins recycling innovator award

July 17, 2014

Recognition for Blue Jeans Go Green™ program. The Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART), the Bureau of International Recycling’s Textiles Division (BIR) and the Council for Textile Recycling (CTR) held the first International Textile Recycling Summit (ITRS), June 2, in Miami, Fla. Conference attendees discussed trends, concerns and emerging markets in the used clothing …

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Lesson plans

July 1, 2014

Recycling Rangers program a success; NCTO meets with EURATEX. The Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART) is well on its way to the goal of reaching more than one million students within the first three years of its elementary student educational project. For the second consecutive school year, SMART provided no-cost lesson plans to …

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Cut-to-fit belts for frequent flyers

April 1, 2014

StarBelt Collections, manufactured by WeatherTech®, Bollingbrook, Ill., assures all potential customers that the colorful thermoplastic polyolefin and elastomer StarBelts are completely recyclable and “vegan.” These may not be the biggest market advantages StarBelt offers in its competition with leather belts for keeping up the slacks, shorts and knickers of customers. The company insists that it …

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Surfing banners catch the upcycle wave

March 1, 2014

Reef, a Carlsbad, Calif., manufacturer of sandals and surfing wear, sponsors the annual Reef Hawaiian Pro surfing competition, bringing surfing fanatics from around the globe to the first stop on the Vans Triple Crown of surfing. Vinyl banners from this and other sponsored events once ended up in landfills, until Reef launched its Reef Redemption™ …

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OEKO-TEX sustainability tracking tool

Textile companies have a new option to have production plants independently evaluated and certified as using sustainable technologies and social working conditions. “STeP by OEKO-TEX®” certification helps brand providers, manufacturers and retailers select textile companies that meet their sustainability principles and requirements. Now, OEKO-TEX, Zurich, Switzerland, makes supply chain sustainability tracking even easier with a …

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Energy efficiency and sustainability

November 1, 2013

Is more heat in a home or office a good thing? It depends on the season, of course. As more people turn to solar and geothermal systems to heat and cool their homes and places of business, ambient heat gain can be a challenge—one that can, to some extent, be addressed by well-designed shade structures.Duvall …

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Water control and conservation

By Sigrid Tornquist Harvesting rainwater is nothing new—but using fabric shade structures to collect and distribute rainwater, while providing an attractive aesthetic, is largely an untapped resource that can translate into growth potential for fabricators. Architen Landrell, Chepstow, Monmouthshire, U.K., manufactures a structure that is essentially the opposite of an umbrella. The Inverted Cone acts …

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Sustainability metrics and certifications

October 1, 2013

The Oeko-Tex® STeP Certification for the textile industry. By Samuel D. Moore, Ph.D. The globalization of the textile industry has created enormous pressure for textile brands, factories and supply chains to demonstrate their ability to manage and continuously improve the sustainability of their products and production facilities. Major retail brands in all sectors of the …

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S.M.A.R.T. clothing recycling

September 1, 2013

Helping communities manage clothing and textile recycling; NCTO welcomes new president. The Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART), Bel Air, Md., is taking several positive steps focusing on the issues surrounding clothing collection bins, as part of its continuing effort to provide leadership in the clothing and textile recycling industry. The association recently developed …

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First U.S. offshore grid-connected wind turbine

The University of Maine, leading the DeepCwind Consortium, deployed the first grid-connected offshore wind turbine in U.S. waters, the VolturnUS 1:8, near Brewer, Maine, on May 31. The approximately 65-foot-tall wind turbine prototype includes a tower constructed of fiberglass-reinforced composite material, a first for wind energy installations, according to Kevin McDonald, general manager for fiber …

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PET fibers get a second life

August 1, 2013

Recycled PET fibers are gaining a significant foothold in the U.S. nonwovens industry. By Adrian Wilson The well-known U.K. environmental journalist George Monbiot has little time for recycling. In a recent column entitled “Let’s Stop Hiding Behind Recycling and Be Honest about Consumption” for the British newspaper The Guardian he deemed it, “the amulets people …

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Techtera launches 2013 innovation initiatives

July 1, 2013

Three projects will focus on eco-design for environment and human health. Eco-design, environmental protection, recycling and public health are the themes that underlie the Techtera Technical Textiles Rhone-Alps cluster’s latest R & D projects. ECOSILAC, REVAMED and TECHNYMAT, funded through the 15th call for projects, will start in the second half of 2013. ECOSILAC, a …

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TenCate Geotube transforms a wasteland

[TenCate Geosynthetics] Pendergrass, Calif., U.S.A. TenCate Geotube® dewatering technology contributed to the transformation of what was once a “wasteland” into an ecologically friendly wetland and recreational lake for the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City development. The new Qingjing Lake was integrated into the 1,000-year-old Ji Canal that flows through the development site—a place that is half the …

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Flint Industries turbidity barrier breakthrough

[Flint Industries] Metter, Ga., U.S.A. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers used 5,500 linear feet of TITANBoom® turbidity barrier for a major restoration of Ship Island near Gulfport, Miss. The barrier not only endured through the 12-month project, it withstood the impact of a Category I hurricane and several tropical storms—with no damage to the …

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Advanced roofing overcomes technical hurdles to generate electricty

A city carport in Munich—and a prototype for efficiency and sustainability. By Lynn Keillor It’s not always easy being green: that’s what Wika Pösl discovered when attempting to build a ground-breaking carport roof for a public works building in Munich, Germany. The project, which involved an ETFE film roof with photovoltaic cells, came under close …

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Low-grade cotton better at oil pick-up

A pound of low-micronaire cotton, a cotton of lesser value in the fiber market, can pick up more than 30 pounds of crude oil, making it an effective absorbent for cleaning up spills. Researchers at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, published their findings in the journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. Low micronaire cotton, about …

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Creating the future of textiles: Bearable lightness

June 1, 2013

Building energy research in Germany finds inspiration from polar bears. By Mark Zeh Fabric materials offer quite a few advantages in the construction of roofs, such as efficiency of material use, ease of transport and good light transmissivity, but a big disadvantage is their poor thermal insulation performance. Over the last several years, many advances …

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Underwater tenting helps advance marine science

Clear vinyl pyramids are proving to be a valuable tool for checking reef health. By Lynn Keillor It may seem that Dr. Nichole Price has a job in paradise: cruising between remote tropical, often deserted, islands in the South Pacific, doing a bit of diving and pitching tents. As a postdoctoral researcher at the Scripps …

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Sustainable Textile Coalition leads industry toward sustainability

In February 2013, a group of leading home textile retailers and manufacturers (including Target and Williams-Sonoma) launched the Sustainable Textile Coalition, an initiative to lead the industry toward greater sustainability. The mission is to build a shared vision of sustainability and a common approach for measuring and evaluating textile product sustainability performance. The Sustainable Apparel …

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Shrimp-shell biopolymers clean wastewater

A combination of chitosan (derived from crustacean shells) and dendrimer nanostructure produces a bioadsorbent that has been shown to be very effective in removing dye from textile wastewater, according to researchers at the Amirkabir University of Technology and the Institute for Color Science and Technology in Tehran, Iran. Parameters that affect the dye-removal process include …

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Sustainability software helps companies assess environmental performance

The Association of the Nonwoven Fabric Industry (INDA) has become a member of the Sustainable Minds (SM) industry sponsor program, which will allow nonwoven manufacturers a discount on Version 3.0 of SM software released in May. The company is a leader in cloud-based Life Cycle Assessment software that enables manufacturers to efficiently and cost-effectively assess …

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Fleas and fish eggs: testing textile breakdown

May 1, 2013

Textile products at the end of their useful lives often end up buried in landfills, where water combines with eager microorganisms to break down organic molecules in natural fibers and polymers. This natural decomposition process generates carbon dioxide as a waste and also releases organic molecules to the soil while rotting away the volume and …

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OEKO-TEX honors winners

Presentation of the Sustainability Awards, June 12 in Frankfurt am Main. To honor the achievements of OEKO-TEX® certified companies that have demonstrated special commitment to the issue of sustainability, the OEKO-TEX Association will present its Sustainability Award for the first time on June 12, 2013, during an evening event in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The …

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Graphics go green

April 1, 2013

Throughout the entire supply chain, the fabric graphics market is stepping up its green game. By Holly O’Dell Sustainability programs, which started out as a marketing advantage, have become a strategic—even competitive—platform. More than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies issue sustainability reports, meaning that they’re looking for vendors who can help attain their eco-friendly goals. …

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OEKO-TEX planning sustainability program

March 1, 2013

The Sustainable Textile Production (STeP) program by OEKO-TEX®. The International OEKO-TEX® Association, Zurich, Switzerland, is currently working on an optimized, independent certification for environmentally friendly and socially responsible companies. The objective is to provide globally operating textile brands, retail companies and manufacturers along the textile value chain with trustworthy and transparent documentation of their sustainable …

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ASTM takes environmental action

February 1, 2013

ASTM Intl. to develop environmental guidelines for products. ASTM Intl., W. Conshohocken, Pa., has announced its new initiative as a Program Operator for Product Category Rules (PCRs) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), which will provide the venue for developing PCRs and verifying EPDs. As “green” and sustainability become more prevalent terms, and measurement systems and …

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NICE, RITE form landmark partnership

The RITE Group and NICE (Nordic Initiative Clean and Ethical) have signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will allow the two parties to cooperate closely to address more effectively the environmental issues in the global textile value chain. The strategic alliance is designed to strengthen each group’s objectives through mutual support in terms …

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Weather or not—fabric measures up

December 1, 2012

With a great selection of materials available, fabric structures adapt to different climates and project needs. By Barb Ernster Trying to find the right solution for the right application in a particular climate is generally foremost in architectural work. The issues to be addressed in developing building envelopes or employing tension membranes are no different …

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Cooley committed to sustainability and corporate social responsibility

June 6, 2012

Cooley Group, a leading designer, developer and manufacturer of high-performance engineered membranes for advertising, chemical containment, military, environmental protection and roofing initiatives, has announced additional developments that underscore the company’s commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Dan Dwight, Cooley president and CEO, has been named to the board of directors of Family Service of …

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SMART clothing recycling

June 1, 2012

Florida State University wins 2012 oneSHIRT challenge. Florida State University claims the title “Big Shirt on Campus” by winning the 2012 oneSHIRT Challenge presented by SustainU and sponsored by the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART). Florida State students recycled more than 3 tons (6,019 pounds) of clothing and textiles while competing in the …

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Sustainability programs for businesses

May 1, 2012

Achieve “green” goals incrementally with an ongoing program and employee participation. By Janice Kleinschmidt When stepping up to the plate, most baseball players concentrate on getting to first base, not making a home run. Businesses that want to achieve “green” goals when it comes to sustainability benefit from a similar line of thinking. “Sustainability can’t …

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Photovoltaic fabrics add energy in design

February 1, 2012

Photovoltaic fabric structures add function to form and energy to aesthetics. By Janice Kleinschmidt Power is literally in the hands of today’s fabric structure makers—and the forecast looks bright for any fabric-related business that looks to the sun for advantage. “I think every fabric product manufacturer in the future is going to be selling power …

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Mobile solar shading in building construction

November 1, 2011

The European Solar-Shading Organization is working to gain recognition for the merits of mobile solar shading in building construction. By Dick Dolmans A couple of months ago, the fuel bill at my nearby Shell filling station here in Brussels hit the 100 (euro) mark for the first time. In dollars, that’s around $140. And, yes, …

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Agricultural fabric

September 1, 2011

Fabric products offer relief from agriculture’s high production costs. By Barb Ernster The agriculture and horticulture industries are feeling the pain of the high cost of petroleum and raw materials, but a variety of fabric products used in many applications are alleviating costs with practical, economical solutions. Some segments of the agricultural fabrics industry are …

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New shapes for tarps

May 1, 2011

The market for tarp products takes on new shapes and a growing emphasis on environmental applications. By Janice Kleinschmidt The 2011 People’s Choice Awards nominations for Favorite Viral Video Star featured California surfers riding through a blue curl. What made the YouTube video so popular was the fact that these “dudes” were simulating an ocean …

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The eco-friendly fabric question

April 1, 2011

Determining sustainability in fabrics requires a big picture analysis. By Shelby Gonzalez The issue of sustainability is one that the specialty fabrics industry takes seriously, and growth in more environmentally friendly materials and processes continues. But the question of what is and what is not a sustainable product is complex and is a challenging topic …

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Flexible photovoltaics

As the performance and durability of flexible photovoltaics increase, so do market possibilities. By Kikuko Tagawa At the World Expo 2010 Shanghai (“Better City—Better Life”), which ended on October 31, the Japan Pavilion presented a 100 by 50 by 24-meter dome with a roof made of steel-framed ETFE film: architecture with an organic image. Putting …

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Solar options for tents

February 1, 2011

Decades of research narrows the search for affordable and efficient solar panels for tents. By Todd Jensen & Sigrid Tornquist For flexible solar panels to have a place in the world of tents they have to be lightweight, and they have to pull their weight; in other words, they have to benefit the bottom line. …