June 7, 2012

Biodegradable plastics in style

It is not just consumer products companies who are jumping into the bioplastics arena but premium brand company Gucci also realized the benefits of bioplastic.
The company launched its "Sustainable Soles" edition of women's and men's shoes designed by Frida Giannini as part of Gucci's Prefall 2012 collection. The shoes are made of biodegradable plastics (the company did not indicate what kind of polymers), which it said was certitied by UNI EN 13432 and ISO 17088 in Europe.
Sustainable Soles will be available at selected Gucci stores worldwide and on gucci.com from the end of June  2012. These shoes make me drool that's for sure. I wish I could afford a Gucci though.
According to Gucci, the men's sneakers (seen above) includes bio-rubber soles and bio-based shoelaces. The Gucci logo used in the shoes are said to be made from recycled polyester label.
This summer, Gucci and its eyewear supplier Safilo, also launched a biodegradable sunglasses made from what they called "Liquid Wood" -- which turns out to be a material composed of wood fiber/lignin and natural wax. 
The companies also announced that their eyewear will now used 100% recyclable packaging. Customers (wish I could be one) are given informational leaflet and a pre-addressed envelope in order to send the case to a dedicated recycling center, which will make new products out of the materials.
Another Gucci eyewear line called Eyeweb is made with injection-molded bio-based sunglasses composed of castor oil-based polyamides. Arkema is the only company I know right now that is supplying castor-based polyamides for use in sunglass and eyewear frames. 

Gucci first launched its sustainable Eyeweb collection last year. According to Gucci's parent company, PPR Group, Gucci was able to replace 34 tonnes of plastic bags consumed last year with cornstarch-based plastic bags.  PPR's brands also include (among many others)  Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Stella McCartney, etc.
PPR's Sustainability targets by 2016 includes all collections to be PVC-free by 2016, and to phase out all hazardous chemicals in their brands and production by 2020.

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