Lesson 1
Persist & play to fulfill your dream

Mijn Tabel

Here goes with the very first lesson learned for designing out waste!

Chris Reutelingsperger, founder of Niaga®: “I had a dream, that we would start considering things such as water, energy and materials as things of worth. Already in 2004, my motto was ‘Kill out waste, design for reuse’. The word ‘circularity’ was not used at the time, but I was convinced this was the only way forward. I started turning my dream into a vision by building my own house which, at the time, was uniquely off-grid.”

“Working for the carpet industry - producers of one of the biggest bulk-waste products - it became my intention to give all materials used in carpets back to mother earth as traceable and healthy materials at the end of a products’ use. Not trash them. In collaboration with the University of Graz and Polytechnic University of Catalonia, we set up a project and afterwards the company Erutan (nature spelt backwards). After years of trial and error we managed to create a beautiful 100% bio-based carpet. Only snag was that it wasn’t reusable. Meaning carpets still ended up as waste. We hadn’t achieved what we had set out to do and were devastated to have to concede defeat.”

“However, all our hard work was not in vain. It taught us the importance of choosing materials that can be used again and again. I started experimenting with all kinds of synthetic materials. After a great deal of experimenting, it became clear that polyester is suitable for carpet mono-material designs. But it also appeared that polyester adhesive could not sufficiently bond filaments and face fibers.”

“One day, I started playing with a soldering iron that I happened to have lying around. It’s how, quite by chance, I found out how to fixate face fibers with controlled melting! In fact, discovering this basis for fiber binding technology was a matter of persistence and serendipity.”

 “It started with dreaming about retaining the value of materials used in carpets. And through learning by playing we were able to find a way to keep materials alive again and again. ‘Please keep buggering on’ is what I like to call this process. It’s all about playing, with persistence!”

Mijn Tabel

“Fiber binding was a serendipity”
Chris Reutelingsperger, founder of Niaga®

#10years #10lessonslearned #circulareconomy#designtouseagain


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