How Coffee Could Replace Cotton & Upend An Industry. Maybe.

Why ruin a good thing, right? Cotton has been, "the fabric of our lives" to quote the slogan. Why fix what isn't broken?

Because people like to tinker and tinkering can bring about huge advances and drastically improve the way humans live.

Horse to car, hand-washing clothes to washing machines, bloodletting to antibiotics, the list of tinkering turned world-changing advancement is long and hard to argue against.

Textiles could be the next stage for a great advancement.

I mean it has been over 200 years since the last tinker went to work and really changed things in the garment biz. That is unless you count exporting the manufacturing. : |

History Of Cotton

Cotton.org says,

Eli Whitney, a native of Massachusetts, secured a patent on the cotton gin in 1793, though patent office records indicate that the first cotton gin may have been built by a machinist named Noah Homes two years before Whitney’s patent was filed. The gin, short for engine, could do the work 10 times faster than by hand.

The gin made it possible to supply large quantities of cotton fiber to the fast-growing textile industry. Within 10 years, the value of the U.S. cotton crop rose from $150,000 to more than $8 million.

I love cotton, so soft and so comfy, but there are some drawbacks to 50% of our fiber used to make clothes coming from this super thirsty plant.

Cotton Crop & The Environment 

According to the World Wildlife Fund;

It can take more than 5,283 gallons of water to produce 2 lbs. of cotton; equivalent to a single T-shirt and pair of jeans. Making cotton a major water consumer.

That's crazy! Five thousand gallons of water to make 1 shirt, that just seems a bit excessive.

The intensive use of pesticides also plays a major role in the degradation of ecosystems around the world and the potentially harmful conditions for the farmers working in those growing fields.

A New Crop Of Textiles Manufacturers 

There have been tinkers at work on the perceived problem, though. This one guy in particular says he can make two shirts with the amount of water used to make a single medium cup of coffee.

Back in 2009, the S.Café® brand founder and President Jason Chen had an idea; take used coffee grounds and make clothes. After 4 years of experiments, they did it and are currently partnered with major brands around the world.

The imagination and innovation needed to go from idea to reality is extraordinary, but proves that change for the better can occur if great minds simply decide it should be so. Way to go Jason Chen.

The Future Is In Your Cup...?

I don't know if coffee is the way of the future in the apparel business, but I know it can't hurt. The more opportunities we take to give a product 2, 3 or even 5 lives the better. Heck, here are 7 ways you can reuse your old coffee that are pretty clever.

What do you say? Is coffee the way of the future for clothing, or just a fade waiting to pass? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

 

Leave a reply