How new materials can cut waste and turn it into value
The WastEnders exhibition explores new families of materials that cut waste – either because they are developed from discarded raw matter, or because they are entirely biobased and biodegradable, or because the process is totally clean.
WastEnders are those projects that start from the most varied waste raw materials and that involve not only the development of new processing technologies, but also the setting up of supply chains and partnerships between the dierent players.
The result is the activation of synergies of industrial symbiosis that help reduce waste and turn it into value in a circular economy perspective.
Conceria Nuvolari società benefit
Nature-L® is a metal free tanning method adopted by Conceria Nuvolari for the treatment of sheepskin for the footwear and fashion industry, which allows to obtain a product free of chromium and heavy metals and certified compostable. Leather is a by-product of the food industry, a waste that through various processes becomes a durable and resistant material. To further reduce the environmental footprint (CO2 and water emissions) of leathers, Conceria Nuvolari adopts natural and low-impact tanning processes, certified by an LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) study.
Coffeefrom is an innovative bio-based material from post-industrial recycled coffee grounds and a blend of biopolymers, entirely manufactured in Italy. For the food industry and catering, coffee grounds constitute a waste of the production process; in this way, instead, they become a high value raw material with a new life, according to the principles of the circular economy. Coffeefrom adapts to multiple application contexts, representing a zero-waste alternative to traditional plastic.
Kajkao is a family of materials made from cocoa agricultural waste in Ecuador, with three potential technological platforms: alternatives to leather, biopolymers, composite panels for interiors, in different grain sizes. The raw material is the shell that contains the cocoa beans, a waste that is burned on site by farmers, resulting in CO2 emissions. A first polymeric material is obtained from the shell, from which by-products panels for furniture can be obtained. The project aims to reduce the environmental impact of waste, while offering local farmers an additional source of income.
EcoPlus by Legnopan
Eco-Plus is a panel made of fiberglass and other recycled fiber-reinforced composites, finely worked and aggregated at high pressure with minimal percentages of virgin binders. The process is patented and generates a material that can be recycled again at the end of its life. The high density of the panel and the presence of mineral fibers brings strength to the entire section, allowing a three-dimensional processing without risk of fraying. The intrusions are visible and give the panels a characteristic pattern with a terrazzo effect.
Madrepora by Manuela Bucci
Madrepora is a project by Manuela Bucci that uses waste from the production of insulating tubes in synthetic felt, potentially made from recycled fibers, for the creation of seats. The tubular felt elements are cut in production to the required length; the waste parts resulting from this operation are recovered by the designer and used to manufacture Madrepora products. The circular felt elements can be dyed into many colors and heated to obtain different stiffnesses. The assembly of the synthetic felt cylinders does not require glue but only the application of heat. The seat is thus recyclable again.
Meba Bioresine uses plant-based raw materials from agricultural or food industry waste for the production of resins to manufacture components and accessories for various applications, including fashion. The biopolymers to form the resins come from non-edible vegetable raw materials, such as oils that cannot be used for human feeding or residues from corn processing.
Mixcycling® is a family of biocomposites containing organic fibers derived from agricultural waste (such as rice husk or silver skin) and from industrial production (such as cork, marc, etc.), preferably at Km 0. These waste are inserted in a matrix polymer that can be from renewable, recycled or virgin source, through a patented manufacturing process. Mixcycling® also promotes the creation of a community for the development of tailor-made sustainable materials, to give a second life to various organic waste.
Mogu Acoustic and Mogu Floor are two products for interiors developed by Mogu starting from residues of cotton and hemp spinning. Mogu Acoustic is obtained by cultivating selected strains of mycelium on pre-engineered substrates made up of agro-industrial residues. The fungal mycelium acts as a binder for the matrix structure, creating a plastic-free and 100% natural composite material. Mogu Floor is made from a biocomposite base and a surface coating composed of a proprietary bioresin, replacing traditional industrial pigments with low-value biomasses, such as corn husks, rice straw, exhausted coffee grounds, algae and shells.
Nazena is a material made through a patented process that allows the recovering of fibers of textile waste in a product upcycling perspective. Starting from the garment no longer reusable, cleaned of accessories (buttons, zips, etc.), the fabric is reduced to flakes and reassembled in the form of panels of different thicknesses thanks to a plant-based binder. The panels thus obtained can be used in stands, retail, packaging. In this way, a second life is guaranteed to fabrics that are currently largely not recovered.
Ohoskin is a 100% vegan alternative to leather. It is produced in Italy from by-products of Sicilian orange and cactus processing through a patented industrial process with reduced environmental impact. The bio-based material is more durable than synthetic PU leather and available in different colors, textures and percentage of organic material. It is intended for fashion, automotive, nautical and furniture brands.
Rubber is a very complex material to be recycled, and its production waste is landfilled or incinerated. Ogreen is the first high quality rubber for technical applications, made with regenerated rubber, with performances comparable to virgin material. Ogreen reduces the use of virgin raw materials, cuts CO2 emissions and zeroes the production of waste destined to landfill, thus reducing the environmental impact of its finished products.
From the post-industrial and post-consumer waste of flexible polyurethane in blocks it is possible to obtain, through mechanical recycling, a wide range of materials that can be used in different sectors, from construction, to automotive, to sports, to footwear, to upholstery. These are panels in different thicknesses and densities, with useful performances such as thermal and acoustic insulation, shock absorption and comfort. Polyurethane can also be chemically recycled, through a process that destroys the chemical bonds between molecules, returning them to the state of raw material.
Ricehouse is a family of 100% natural green building materials, including substrates, insulating biomass, mortars and plasters, that incorporate agricultural waste from the rice supply chain. RH 420 finishing coat bio-plaster is a composition based on selected clay of the highest quality, natural hydraulic lime, very pure aerial lime and rice chaff coming exclusively from Italian rice fields, pigmented through the use of natural earth and marble powders. RH 120 finishing coat bio-plaster is instead a composition based on rice husk, hydraulic lime and very pure air lime. On request it can be added with marble or cocciopesto powders.
Naturella® is a tanning process by Santori Pellami that allows to obtain a material free of chromium, heavy metals, completely biodegradable and certified compostable. Cowhide is a by-product of the food industry. This type of tanning reduces water consumption compared to the traditional process, eliminates heavy metals (toxic and allergenic) and increases the absorption of colors, reducing their use. In addition, more leather surface is processed, which means less waste, less disposal costs, less pollution. The quality of the leather is also more resistant to breakage and abrasion.
ReplasticMosaic is a project by Studio Cassio to create mosaic panels for large works of street art in recycled plastic. The individual mosaic tiles are obtained by thermo-pressure-forming common PET bottles. The tiles thus obtained are mounted on a panel and combined like pixels to form an image. The overall image will become more and more legible as you move away, to the point of allowing a photorealistic perception. The great variety of bottles on the market allows for a wide range of colors rich in shades, transparencies and iridescent effects.
Ananasse is a material proposed by Verabuccia that recovers the external waste of the fruit transforming it into a new material through an innovative and patented process. The material has a scaly surface, visibly similar to the animal skin of a reptile and with technical characteristics, such as rot, strength, flexibility, which allow the material to be pierced, sewn and dyed in different shades.