Denimtex develops fully biodegradable wallcovering

Bas van der Geest, an entrepreneur from Enschede, was triggered when he heard an item on the radio that mentioned that seventy per cent of the world’s discarded textiles are burned. After a period of trial and error, his company Denimtex is now rapidly conquering the market with a completely circular product: wall coverings made of fibres from worn clothing, old curtains, or worn-out sheets. 

In short:

Enschede is making the world’s huge textile mountain a lot smaller: Denimtex developed a way to make wall decorations from textile fibres. Reusing them, instead of throwing them in an oven.
The products are completely circular: you can simply take the textile plaster down if you are moving and apply it again at a different location.

Global Goal

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Old jeans

ABN Amro, Holland Casino, ASML and – closer to home – Saxion all use these sustainable eyecatchers: walls plastered with textile fibres. Kathrin Vulic, R&D specialist and responsible for Denimtex’s growth: “Bas’ idea was converted into a product after lab research by students from Saxion and R&D managers. The first walls were made of old jeans. We now make products from all kinds of fabrics: silk, polyester, cotton; all fibres are suitable. We work together with Het Frankenhuis (textile recycling) from Haaksbergen, so our raw materials come from nearby.”

Denimtex mixes fibres with a specially developed biodegradable adhesive. “We deliver a high-quality product”, says Kathrin. “It is fire retardant, insulating, moisture regulating and sound dampening. It is also completely circular. If you scrape the substance off the wall, you will be able to apply it to another wall or process it into pigment for paint, for example.”

Trend colours

Denimtex keeps innovating. Kathrin works on product development, among other things. She has developed other textures and trend colours, for example, as well as wallpaper made from fibres and soon even paint. “We are now working on a way to get only the dry fibres into a bucket. The user only has to add water then. This makes a huge difference in kilos and therefore in transport costs.  A bucket of material (wet plaster) now weighs about 13 kilos, which can be reduced considerably.”

The company from Enschede is still only active in the B2B market. “But it would be great if people can buy our products at Ikea in a few years, to make their homes more beautiful in a sustainable way.” Kathrin is responsible for the financial growth at Denimtex, as well as the growth of the team. She manages the craftsmen and meets architects throughout the country to further put the product on the map.

Tommy Jeans

The team is busy enough for now, however. Four people travel the country to put plaster on walls at other companies. Companies from Dubai and London are interested as well, and branches of Tommy Jeans worldwide have been decorated with textile fibre wallpaper developed by Denimtex. “Sustainability is gaining more and more attention worldwide, and entrepreneurs need to contribute. Our products are very suitable for this. It’s great to be working on this every day”, says Kathrin.

Social contribution

It takes an hour and a half to produce enough textile plaster to cover one square metre. “The fibres must be picked out and mixed. We are still doing this ourselves, but we are in the process of entering into a partnership with a local organisation that guides people with poor job prospects. This means we will not only contribute to a circular economy but to society as well. We will continue to develop, although our customers are already very satisfied. Not only because of the appearance and circular aspect but also because of the acoustics; this improves significantly after one or more walls are decorated. Our textile plaster brings us a lot closer to the one hundred per cent circular economy that we want to achieve by 2050.”

Date: 9 February 2022 |

Author: Maaike Thüss

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