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Q&A: House of Canvex turns recycled plastic bottles into interior textiles

by | Jan 21, 2021

House of Canvex is a six-year-old interior textiles business based in Durban, South Africa with an ethos developed around creating quality products “without sacrificing local connection and environment”. They are doing this with four revolutionary rPET (recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate) base cloths that offer a range of applications from upholstery and curtains to cushion covers and outdoor furniture. One metre of fabric is said to use 12 recycled plastic bottles bought from local plastic collectors. Twyg caught up with Vida Herbst at House of Canvex via email.

Tell us about your design practice. What inspired you to start this business?

We are not an interior design business as such but more a business that is passionate about sustainability. The textile industry has always been a huge polluter and we wanted to be part of positive change.

What inspired your rPET fabric collection?

We wanted to create more design trends without causing waste. We wanted to expand on our Uzwelo business, which makes bags from waste, redirecting waste from landfills, creating job opportunities, and impacting conservation. We wanted to be a part of the redirection of all waste.

And the prints you used?

The prints follow international trends and give local designers a platform to produce their own print designs.

Do you think people are informed about recycling and its benefits to people and the planet?

Not really. We can show people by turning plastic into beautiful products that we don’t need to generate new plastic and this keeps currently existing plastic in the circular cycle. We have shown that this is possible by breaking down plastic waste and turning it into a brand-new product.  This is exactly what we have done with our textiles.

How would you describe upcycling to someone who knows nothing about it?

The upcycling process is when you creatively repurpose old materials into something new, which is what we do with Uzwelo bags.

Why is it important?

Because we are preventing waste from going to landfills. Our base cloth is 100% made from South African waste and we are incredibly proud to be an authentic 100% South Africa brand.

How do you print on recycled fibre?

We are digital printers. This is not easy to get into, it is a high Capex and the R&D is expensive.

Can you use non-toxic dyes on rPET?

Yes, all our inks are water-based and bought from Switzerland and therefore non-toxic.

What does sustainability mean to you and why is it important?

Sustainability is all about finding the balance and about not compromising our future generations. It’s about the economy, society and the environment, and in South Africa we have to be aware of creating jobs and making sure people have food security.

What / where do you look for inspiration?

Our inspiration comes from international trends and local art.

If you could make one wish that would change the world, what would it be?

Stop people from littering. But also, to lead by best practice which ultimately means offering education to all.

 

  • For more information, visit the House of Canvex website.
  • Images supplied.
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