26 Jul '16, 1pm
Dutch designer creates clothing from cow manure
Clothing made from cow manure? Don't pooh-pooh the idea just yet. After all, dung is serious business, particularly in the Netherlands, where a booming dairy industry has already outstripped the so-called "phosphate ceiling" of 172.9 million kilograms per year. Too much phosphate in waterways can lead to algae blooms , which rob aquatic life of oxygen and are potentially toxic to people. But less manure typically calls for fewer cows, which, for the land of milk, butter, and cheese, is a compromise farmers are hard-pressed to make. Eindhoven-based designer Jalila Essaïdi has an alternative solution: create a circular economy that turns excess excrement—and the surplus phosphate it embodies—into useful products. By "deconstructing" manure, Essaïdi is able to tease out the cellulose within and transform it into bioplastics , biopaper, and even biotextiles.