Turning Textile Waste to Luxurious Sustainable Blankets

Seljak Brand

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 14. Life Below Water 15. Life on Land

Overview

Using production offcuts from weaving mill to make blankets, Seljak Brand incorporates a closed loop system where old blankets can be recycled at the end of their useful lives. The circular model diverts textile waste from landfill and uses renewable inputs and waste as a resource and reduces mining of virgin resources for making products.

Author

Olivia Au

Olivia Au

School

Monash University

Monash University

Professor

Gitanjali Bedi

Gitanjali Bedi

Innovation

The offcuts collected from the factory floor of Australia’s oldest mill in Tasmania and a 92-year-old weaving mill in Lithuania are ragged and shredded, then spun into a new yarn and woven using industrial weaving looms. Depending on what type of fabric was available on the factory floor, the finished blanket has a beautifully speckled aesthetic appearance that is unique to every production.

Seljak blankets are made from 70% recycled merino wool, 30% blend of recycled alpaca, mohair and polyester for strength. Wool is selected as it is a natural fibre and a renewable source that has the following characteristics: odour and stain resistant, antibacterial, lightweight, breathable and insulating.

Blankets are designed for longevity, however, if customer no longer needs the old blanket, it is collected free of charge using a carbon neutral courier service and recycled to manufacture future blankets.

Turning Textile Waste to Luxurious Sustainable Blankets

Co-Founders of Seljak Brand : Sam and Karina Seljak

Inspiration

The co-founders, Samantha and Karina Seljak had explored the circular economy concept and the heavy carbon footprint of the fashion industry. After spending three months in India where they learned about the basics of fabric creation and traditional hand weaving, they were also inspired by the local textile based social enterprises and decided to use resources local to Australia to manufacture a product that does not harm the planet. When they visited a mill in Tasmania who was keeping offcuts aside, they decided to use the waste as a resource for manufacturing and negotiated a close loop solution.

Overall impact

Since its launch in March 2016, Seljak Brand has diverted 2,646kg of textiles waste from landfill, donated 177 blankets to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne. It has crowdfunded AUD$32,000 to fund the research and development of using different textile waste stream and testing varying fibre types to innovate new products.

The closed loop circular model also addressed various sustainable development goals :

Goal 11, ‘Sustainable cities and communities’

Goal 12, ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’

Goal 14, ‘Life Below Water’

Goal 15, ‘Life on Land’

Business benefit

The successful launch of closed loop recycled blankets had allowed Seljak to explore new manufacturing and marketing opportunities. The company has crowdfunded AUD$32,000 to fund the research and development of using different textile waste stream to develop a lighter summer blanket. With extensive knowledge and experience in circularity and closing the loop in textiles, Seljak organizes circularity workshops and offer consulting service to help other business reach their sustainability goals. It has also received The Design Files Design Awards 2019 in the Sustainable Design category.

Social and environmental benefit

When textiles are sent to landfill, methane gases (which is 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide) are emitted into the atmosphere, accelerating global warming. Textiles waste is responsible for an estimated ten % of emissions contributing to global warming from landfill.

The circular model diverts textile waste from landfill and uses renewable inputs and waste as a resource and reduces mining of virgin resources for making products. Seljak also offers an end of life solution to its customers where old blankets doesn’t get discarded but instead gets looped back into the production process and thus held to its highest value at all times.

“Keeping 2,646kg of textiles waste from landfill is tiny contribution but if every small business does that, it will be significant”, says Sam. For every ten blankets sold, one blanket is donated to the Asylum Seeker Resource Center in Victoria. As of September 2019, Seljak has already donated 177 blankets to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne.

As a result of the benefits of the innovation implemented by Seljak, various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are addressed:

Goal 11, ‘Sustainable cities and communities’

Goal 12, ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’

Goal 14, ‘Life Below Water’

Goal 15, ‘Life on Land’

Interview

Samantha Seljak, Co-Founder & Director

Photo of interviewee

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Seljak Brand

Seljak Brand

Melbourne, Victoria, AU

Business Website: https://www.seljakbrand.com.au/

Year Founded: 2016

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Launched in 2016, Seljak Brand makes beautiful, closed loop wool blankets using offcuts from the factory floor of Australia’s oldest mill in Tasmania and a 92-year-old weaving mill in Lithuania. Customers are encouraged to return the old blanket so it could be recycled to manufacture new blankets. The company also offers circularity workshops and consulting service to help other business reach their sustainability goals. For every ten blankets sold, one blanket is donated to the Asylum Seeker Resource Center in Victoria.