The majority of plastics used in the world today come from petroleum. Oil, in other words. But it doesn’t have to be that way. While Ford and Coca-Cola are leading the charge to get soy-based plastics into more cars, a small company called Iris Industries has found a way to turn old blue jeans into “Denimite,” a tough, durable plastic that happens to look like a million bucks.
First, let’s verify that these entrepreneurs’ Denimite is as tough as they say it is … by hanging a 160 lb. anvil from a small chunk of the stuff …
… it looks like the compressed and recycled jeans Denimite passes that test (which, I assume, is an industry-standard strength test for consumer-grade plastics).
So far, the company has just made a few basic items out of the material — but Iris Industries is hoping that its new Denimite will be be the first of many “green” composite and bio-composite materials. That’s evidenced by the company’s founders stating that they “believe the new age will be the age of composites. Nature did it first with composites like wood, bone and shell. This is the genesis of a new age of learning from nature and exploring new bio-composites that will replace less efficient materials.” To back that up, they provided a few “denim facts” on their Kickstarter page:
About 2.5 billion yards of denim is produced every year all around the world.
Approximately 1600 pieces of denim will divert 1 ton of waste from the landfill.
The average person in the US throws away 68 pounds of clothing and textiles a year.
I, for one, think Denimite looks great, and I’d much rather see an honest, green material like this as a decorative finish on my car’s dashboard than an oil-based, fake wood-grain plastic. Wouldn’t you? Let us know what you think of Denimite in the comments, below — and, if it ever shows up as an upscale option in a Mercedes or Tesla, try not to point out that it’s “just” a bunch of recycled jeans.