We have access to the most abundant and sustainable resource on earth: plants. We can create a future where the products we love don't come at a cost to the planet, where the materials we use are fully recyclable, and where all people thrive.
It’s time to return to Nature.
The Plastic Problem
Today, a staggering percentage of our clothes and soft goods contain plastic. One recent study that looked at more than 4,000 articles of clothing found that 67% contained plastic fibers. Of those, the average garment was 53% synthetic.
The textiles industry has become dependent on plastics.
When you think about the lifecycle of plastic, it isn't just problematic at the end its life; it's problematic from the very beginning. The plastic and synthetic fabric supply chain is inseparable from fossil fuel extraction and the ecological devastation it causes. From oil spills to habitat loss, the costs of mining fossil fuels are massive. Once plastic materials are in the hands of consumers, they shed microplastics throughout the duration of use. And then, when plastics are discarded, the vast majority — 90% by one estimate — either end up in landfills where they leach harmful chemicals for decades or they get incinerated, releasing carbon into the atmosphere.
The true carbon footprint of plastics is also not accurately accounted for by the textiles industry. It's recently come to light that the amount of methane, a harmful greenhouse gas, that is released during the extraction, transport, and processing of fossil fuels used to make plastic has been undercounted.
The bottom line: Plastics are bad from start to finish.
5 of the Biggest Problems with Plastics
By now, you’ve probably heard that plastics aren’t good for the environment. But have you ever wondered why?Learn More
One of the emergent issues caused by the recent explosion of synthetic fabrics in the textiles industry is microplastic pollution. We now know that synthetic garments shed fibrous microplastics (fibers less than 5 mm) when worn, washed, and dried. As a result, we are all breathing, eating, and drinking plastic. A new study suggests microplastics can even latch onto the outer membranes of human red blood cells and stretch them out such that it may affect their ability to transport oxygen.
Within the textile industry, which according to one study is responsible for 35% of plastic microplastic pollution, there is very little acknowledgement of the microfiber issue, in particular, what to do about it. Unfortunately, recycling is not the solution it's been pitched as.
Recycling, in its current form, is a clever marketing campaign that was created by the petroleum industry. The goal is to calm consumer anxiety about how prolific plastic waste and pollution has become. At the end of the day, even when recycled, plastic is still plastic.
This is reality: Greater than 90% of plastics end up landfilled, burned, or become pollution. And all of these processes associated with attempts to recycle emit greenhouse gases -- either directly or via the energy required to accomplish them. The carbon footprint of plastics continues even after we've disposed of them. Dumping, incinerating, recycling and composting (for certain plastics) all release carbon dioxide.
Plants Are Abundant
Unlike fossil fuels, which are a scarce and finite resource, plants are both abundant and renewable.
Plant matter is the only material that can scale to replace plastic. Nature produces 100 gigatons of cellulose each year. More new tonnage of plant matter will grow today on earth than all the synthetic things produced in the next year.
When we recycle cotton yarns, we can clothe more people with the same amount of arable cotton acreage.
When we displace a polyurethane-coated-fabric, we are displacing a finite petrochemical-based material. We are taking it out of the equation and replacing it with something better.
Alternative, durable fabrics can be grown from soybeans – and someday even dandelions. Both can be grown and harvested sustainably across America (and other regions across the world). This also increases the profitability of farms as we find new higher-value uses for their crops.
It’s also cost-effective enough to serve the world’s population.
Circular & Sustainable Solutions
By harnessing the inherent circularity of Nature, NFW is enabling humanity’s transition from being petroleum- dependent to being plant-powered. Our material solutions are truly sustainable and inherently free from plastic.
Experience the future of
Plants, Not Plastic™
Leaning into our core competency of reformatting natural polymers, MIRUM® was born to free product designers of the constraints inherent in using synthetic materials. Consumers today are right to refuse to compromise between performance, cost, and environmental stewardship.
MIRUM is made with natural, biodegradable polymers. Our finished materials are never coated in polyurethane and use no synthetic binders. MIRUM stands for 100% natural inputs and zero use of plastic. With MIRUM, nature becomes a playground for creative expression. From textures to complex constructions, the possibilities for customization are limitless.
Discover the new shape of cotton™
CLARUS™ is the name given to a set of powerful "fiber welding" technologies invented by our Founder and CEO Dr. Luke Haverhals. This patented platform solves the key performance and manufacturing limitation of natural fibers - their physical format.
Using green-chemistry principles and closed-loop processes we revitalize recycled fibers and engineer performance cotton textiles. This is accomplished by precise manipulation of molecular bonding.
This is the foundation of the CLARUS experience.