Covering over 70% of the earth and providing half of its oxygen, our oceans are our life support. Yet, with 8 million tons of plastic dumped into our oceans annually, pollution is a real threat, placing our oceans in danger. All the while, very little is being done to minimize this impact, even though “environmental-friendly” has been a buzz word across many industries for some time now.
While it’s been lip service to many businesses, DIYgirls INTERIOR has made a conscious decision to use fabrics that are made from recycled plastic waste to produce their furniture. By doing so, they are manufacturing products that are more sustainable and kinder to our planet, without compromising the quality and beautiful designs their clients have become accustomed to.
A 100% female-owned company and one of the top 10 interior design companies in South Africa, DIYgirls believes that it is the responsibility of ordinary individuals, businesses and governments alike, to save our ocean.
“We are passionate about giving back to our community, and we realise that our environment is equally as important as our people,” says Vinette Diab Nicholls, Founder of DIYgirls.
She continues by stating that DIYgirls is proactively giving back to our community by choosing eco-friendly fabrics which are produced from plastic waste that has been harvested from our oceans and beaches in the manufacture of their furniture.
‘Design backed by science’ is a tagline that distinguishes products made by this company from that of many other players in the interior design industry. To be true to this, DIYgirls works with trusted industry fabric manufacturers, who supply the company with high-performance fabrics that meet international safety standards and certifications. Home Fabrics is one such fabric provider to DIYgirls.
“Ethical, eco-friendly and high-performance are the words that best define our fabrics,” says Carel Chalmers, Commercial Manager at Home Fabrics South Africa.
“We provide sophisticated, high-quality fabrics that meet renowned international standards and certifications, including verification of organic cotton content, recycled fibre content and minimal environmental impact in manufacturing. In fact, we don’t only manufacture fabric – we design fabric with the intention of not harming the environment. Fabric that is restorative and regenerative.”
The Eco Label Collection
In 2021, Home Fabrics launched their Eco Label collection – a range that epitomises the key principles of sustainable sourcing and manufacturing, and boast several international certifications such as OEKE Tex Standard 100, REACH and GSR to verify that they meet the most stringent standards required of eco-conscious performance fabrics.
“Because fabrics by Home Fabrics’ FibreGuard are OEKO-TEX Standard 100 compliant, they are free from harmful chemicals and safe for human use,” says Carel. He adds that Home Fabrics is proud to carry fabric that has this certification alongside other international standards and certifications for eco-conscious fibres and manufacturing.
The new Eco Label collections are also REACH (the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) compliant and proudly created in ISO 14001 mills. Simply put, the manufacturing processes of such fabrics are undertaken in a way that is environmentally conscious and friendly.
“With a growing demand for eco-friendly and green considerations in design projects, we have peace of mind knowing that the fabrics we choose are internationally compliant and part of forward-thinking sustainability,” says Vinette. “It poses no risk from harmful chemicals and is proven to be good for people and kinder to the planet.”
With businesses such as DIYgirls and Home Fabrics who support the environment and the well-being of those who enjoy top quality products in their homes, offices, hotels and medical spaces, there is hope for our oceans and the environment at large.
“South Africans need to follow suit by enforcing these safety standards so that more businesses can play an active role in saving the planet. By doing so, more products will be manufactured that take care of the environment, as it takes care of us,” says Carel.
“It is an ambitious task but with collective effort it can be achieved. We are all responsible for diverting plastic waste from the environment and moving towards a sustainable circular economy*,” concludes Vinette.
*Circular economy: An industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design. It replaces the end-of-life concept with restoration, shifts towards the use of renewable energy, eliminates the use of toxic chemicals, which impair reuse and return to the biosphere, and aims for the elimination of waste through the superior design of materials, products, systems, and business models. – The Ellen MacArthur Foundation.