Camira Combats Marine Plastic Pollution with New Oceanic Fabric

06/04/2020 By Adrian Thompson

Each year, 12 million tons of plastic enters the ocean. Once there, its effects are felt throughout the eco-system. Textile manufacturer Camira is helping combat marine plastic pollution by bringing new life to the discarded debris found in the seas and destined for landfills.

Chair made with oceanic fabric combating marine plastic pollutionThe result: Oceanic, the UK-based company’s first fabric that contains plastic sea waste and gives recycled polyester a positive purpose.

Oceanic was created as part of the SEAQUAL Initiative, a community working to fight plastic pollution and achieve a waste-free environment.

Woven with SEAQUAL yarn, each yard of Oceanic fabric contains 26 plastic bottles and for every four-and-a-half pounds (four yards) of Oceanic fabric sold, one pound of waste is removed from the ocean.

(Image courtesy of Camira)

“While Camira has been using waste as a raw material ingredient for over 20 years, Oceanic takes the company’s range of recycled polyesters to the next level,” says Ciara Crossan, group design manager for Camira.

“For us, upcycling waste into fabric started in the late 1990s, when we created a recycled wool upholstery fabric made from old Ministry of Defense army jumpers, pulled back to fiber, spun into yarn and woven into new fabric,” she notes.

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“We’ve been making recycled polyesters from PET bottles for almost as long, including some fabrics which use a proportion of our own waste yarn and selvedges, which are upcycled in a circular, closed loop fashion.”

Crossan says the inspiration for Oceanic ultimately stemmed from the BBC’s “Blue Planet” program and David Attenborough’s narration of some of the horror stories of plastic in our seas. 

4 stages of the plastic: raw plastic pieces, plastic beads, yarn, cloth“We’re always eager to keep pushing new innovations, so we wanted to take our fight against plastic pollution one step further this year with the launch of Oceanic.

(Photo: Each yard of Oceanic fabric contains 26 plastic bottles and for every four-and-a-half pounds (four yards) of Oceanic fabric sold, one pound of waste is removed from the ocean; Courtesy of Camira)

This is our very first fabric—and the first in our industry—to contain plastic sea waste and is a reflection of our ongoing commitment to environmental product stewardship,” she notes.

Taking its strength from the raw material from which it was originally created, Oceanic is a highly durable fabric.

Dyed using cationic yarn, the multi-tonal textile combines and contrasts a light warp with a deeply saturated weft. Crossan adds that from afar, Oceanic’s diagonal pattern appears much softer as the colors blend into one.

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Stack of vibrantly colored fabricOceanic features 16 colorways and combines muted, neutral hues with soft pastels and deep bolds to provide a versatile palette that echoes the shades visible on nature’s shoreline, as well as introducing a number of vibrant, trend-led tones.

(Photo: Camira’s Oceanic fabric is made from 100% post-consumer recycled polyester, including 50% SEAQUAL yarn in 16 colorways; Courtesy of Camira)

It also meets the ACT voluntary Performance Guidelines and is classified for Heavy Duty Upholstery.

“As tough as the seas it was made from, it can be used for both task seating and soft seating upholstery,” says Crossan.

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Looking ahead, Crossan says Camira will continue to innovate in naturally sustainable materials, not only expanding the company’s wool-bast fiber fabric portfolio, but also introducing new recycled fabrics, new materials and new concepts such as cork and a British wool fleece available on a roll.

In the meantime, Camira encourages visitors to its website to sign up for the SEAQUAL Initiative to support ocean clean up and combat plastic pollution, one piece at a time.

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