Herman Miller Introduces Fabric Line Made of Plastic Bottles

Herman Miller, a Zeeland-based (northeast of Holland) home and office furniture company, has introduced a sustainable textile collection, including fabric entirely made from recycled and ocean-bound plastic materials as well as a 100 percent post-consumer biodegradable polyester.
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Herman Miller sustainable textiles
Herman Miller has introduced its line of sustainable textiles, which includes fabrics made of plastic bottles and biodegradable polyester. // Photo courtesy of Herman Miller

Herman Miller, a Zeeland-based (northeast of Holland) home and office furniture company, has introduced a sustainable textile collection, including fabric entirely made from recycled and ocean-bound plastic materials as well as a 100 percent post-consumer biodegradable polyester.

The collection, called Revenio, focuses on using sustainable textile innovations to alleviate global waste without sacrificing aesthetics, performance, or longevity.

For every yard of fabric in the collection, seven to 15 plastic bottles are diverted from the ocean. Annually, the collection will divert an estimated equivalent of 4.6 million bottles, or about 37,000 pounds of discarded plastic. Of these, 1.37 million will be collected in vulnerable coastline cities, where they will be intercepted before reaching the ocean.

“This is our most sustainable textile collection yet,” says Elaine Gerbers, director of materials at Herman Miller. “This new collection amplifies our commitment to creating a circular economy through the use of environmentally mindful materials. By utilizing 100 percent recycled content and introducing ocean-bound plastic, we are diverting plastic from the landfill and our waterways and giving them new life in these beautiful new textiles. Additionally, our new biodegradable textile reduces the environmental impact at the end of a product’s life.”

The company’s 100 percent post-consumer biodegradable polyester can decompose in landfills and wastewater conditions at a rate similar to that of natural fibers. This is achieved through the addition of a biocatalyst in the yard extrusion process that enables anaerobic digestion in landfill and wastewater treatment conditions. These polyester fabrics can also be recycled and reused as raw materials for future generations of polyester fabrics.

Herman Miller joined NextWave Plastics as a founding member in 2018. Convened by Lonely Whale, NextWave is a collaborative and open-source initiative convening leading multinational companies to develop the first global network of ocean-bound plastic supply chains.

“Herman Miller was foundational to the creation of NextWave Plastics and since 2017 has been a driving force in our collective work to turn off the tap on plastic pollution,” says Dune Ives, CEO of Lonely Whale. “This milestone launch is a story about perseverance and an ongoing commitment to open-source collaboration that makes a tangible impact for our ocean.

“Each year, over 8 million metric tons of plastic enters the ocean. If no action is taken, the amount of plastic going into the sea every year could triple in the next 20 years. Herman Miller and all the NextWave Plastics members are taking the action needed to keep plastic in the economy and out of the ocean.”

The collection is made up of four textiles and will be available on Herman Miller seating and workspace solutions. Ordering availability began on Monday, and additional textiles made with ocean-bound plastic and details around global distribution will be announced at a later date.

The four textiles are as follows:

  • Terra – 100 percent post-consumer recycled biodegradable polyester. Offers a neutral color palette featuring earth tones.
  • Scatter – Each yard of this sustainable textile diverts nine plastic bottles from entering the ocean. The cloth is offered in saturated colors with dark flecks.
  • Mellow – Each yard diverts seven plastic bottles from reaching the ocean. The palette is cool and offers tinted, tonal contrasts.
  • Crepe – This fabric’s texture is created from the random nature of its weaving technique. Each yard diverts 15 plastic bottles from reaching the ocean.

Herman Miller was founded in 1905.

NextWave Plastics is an industry-led, open-source collaboration among technology companies and consumer brands to develop the first global network of ocean-bound plastics supply chains. It was convened by Lonely Whale, an incubator based in New York City that works to drive market-based change that benefits oceans, and has committed to preventing 25,000 tons of plastic waste from entering the oceans by 2025 across countries most impacted by plastic pollution.

Companies that are part of NextWave include Dell Technologies, IKEA, Solgaard, Trek Bicycle, and more.

In 2021, Lonely Whale joined the Global Plastic Action Partnership, the World Economic Forum’s platform for advancing progress in the fight against plastic waste and pollution, as well as transitioning governments, businesses, and society toward a sustainable, circular economy for plastics.

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