Innovation That Matters

The hoodie will completely break down within 12 weeks if buried in soil, or eight weeks in a home compost heap | Photo source Vollebak

A compostable plant and pomegranate-based hoodie

Fashion & Beauty

The hooded jumper can biodegrade in a compost heap in your own garden within eight weeks

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Spotted: London-based clothing startup Vollebak has designed a hoodie from eucalyptus trees that is fully biodegradable and compostable within eight weeks.

Made from pulped eucalyptus and beech wood that has been sourced from sustainably managed forests, the plant-based jumper achieves a mossy hue from being dyed with pomegranate peel. 

Vollebak, which Steve Tidball established in 2015 with his twin brother Nick, calculates that it will completely break down within 12 weeks if buried in soil, or eight weeks in a home compost heap, and even faster in an industrial composting facility. The hoodie also decomposes at different rates depending on the climate – with bacteria-filled environments breaking down the material quicker.

“So when the hoodie has reached the end of its life – whether that’s in three years’ time or 30 – it can be put out with the compost or buried in the garden,” said Vollebak co-founder Steve Tidball. 

According to Tidball, making biodegradable clothing was not a challenge, but rather creating something that could be manufactured in a sustainable way. Vollebak made the hoodie from eucalyptus and beech using a closed-loop production process, where over 99 per cent of the water and solvent used to turn the pulp into fibre was recycled and reused.

It was also dyed using the peel of a pomegranate fruit, which is normally discarded, and then stitched with recycled cotton thread.

The hoodie follows Vollebak’s wood pulp and algae T-shirt, which also breaks down in the soil in three months; as well as a coat from graphene that acts as a radiator and a virus-killing Full Metal Jacket weaved from seven miles of copper. Whilst various clothing brands like Vollebak are trying to reduce the industry’s global 2.8 billion ton carbon footprint, there is a need for collective action. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, clothing makes up 7.6 per cent of the waste in US landfills.

Written By: Katrina Lane



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