This carbon-negative biomaterial turns greenhouse gases into fashion accessories



Owning a carbon neutral wardrobe is a utopian dream that could come true much sooner than expected. As the fashion industry strives to gradually reduce its impact on the environment, a California company is launching a range of accessories with a certified negative carbon footprint. All made naturally from… greenhouse gases. What clothes will you wear in ten years? It’s hard to imagine, but one thing is certain: the possibilities will be endless and they will take the environment into account in their production. From 3D printed and recyclable sneakers to new biomaterials developed by high-tech start-ups, fashion is changing, using its creativity and determination to no longer be among the most polluting industries in the world.

One of the latest examples is proof that designing carbon neutral clothing and accessories is no longer just the realm of science fiction. Indeed, now, with a few clicks on the web, it is possible to buy glasses, bags and covers for smartphones and laptops made from greenhouse gases, in a process modeled on the logic of the nature. Innovative, ecological and undoubtedly ultra-futuristic.

Take inspiration from nature

AirCarbon: this is the name given to this carbon-negative biomaterial that the Californian start-up Newlight Technologies has been developing for more than a decade. It is produced by microorganisms naturally present in the ocean – now also present in large tanks filled with salt water mixed with methane at the company’s plant – which feed mainly on air and gas. greenhouse, converted in their cells to polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB).

It is this biodegradable polymer, “a material made by life that binds us to the natural world”, which is now used to make luxury accessories under the name AirCarbon. The start-up says the biomaterial can be melted and then cooled, opening the door to endless possibilities for making fibers, sheets or even solid parts. AirCarbon could replace synthetic plastic and animal leather, and since it is natural and non-toxic, endlessly recycled.

It’s no surprise that the fashion giants are paying attention to this innovation; Nike entered into a partnership with Newlight Technologies at the end of August to explore “the use of AirCarbon in a variety of applications” to reduce its carbon footprint while continuing to offer technical products to consumers. A collaboration that could quickly give birth to carbon – neutral accessories, even sneakers, neutral, made from this new biomaterial, and stamped with the famous swoosh.

Sustainable luxury at your fingertips

But the strength of Newlight Technologies also lies in its ability to offer its own accessories in AirCarbon. Not content with simply selling the biodegradable polymer to fashion brands or manufacturers, through its Covalent brand, the company sells carbon neutral sunglasses, tote bags, handbags, small leather goods and bags. sleeves for smartphones and laptops.

For the sake of total transparency, the brand makes all information related to the carbon footprint of products and their manufacture available to the public. For example, the Poppy tote bag, handcrafted in California, was made from 51% AirCarbon, 14% bio-derived materials, and 35% synthetic ethylene vinyl acetate ( EVA). A product with a negative carbon footprint, the bag diverted 16.7 kilograms of CO2 equivalent from the air thanks to its manufacture. It is available for $ 480.

The Covalent brand, along with this new biomaterial, could be a game-changer in sustainable fashion, as a unique and innovative solution that allows the industry to significantly reduce its environmental footprint.

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