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Innovative Company Transforms Recycled Jeans Into Coasters, Wallets and Rings
While most people throw away old magazines and denim jeans or recycle them, a small company uses the materials to make cool items you likely wouldn't have imagined possible.
Junk mail, newsprint and old money are among the items Lincoln, NE-based Iris Industries uses to make composites that eventually produce architectural finishes, tile, consumer products, furniture and a few automotive applications. Its newest product is Denimite, a compost material made of recycled denim scraps.
Denimite is either pressed into sheets for secondary processes like cutting, gluing and sanding or pressed into custom molds. End uses include wallets, drink coasters and rings.
Iris gets its raw materials from Bonded Logic, a sustainable manufacturer from Chandler, AZ, and Hayward, CA-based Entropy Resins provides eco-friendly resin. The company also offers panels made from agricultural waste like walnut shells, sunflower seed hulls, grasses and cotton fibers, with each designed to showcase the material.
The company plans on expanding its offering to larger applications like countertops if it gets the necessary funding. Iris currently uses a press to create 16-inch-by-16-inch sheets, but wants to expand to 30-inch-by-120-inch.
"Later, we will further develop our own near net molding capabilities," the company writes on its funding page. "We are diligently working towards this near net production to realize the benefits of less waste, efficient production, lower cost per unit, ability for more complex designs, and increased strength."
To display how strong Denimite is, Iris posted a video in which a small piece of the product is banged repeatedly against a 161-pound anvil. The company also says it hung the anvil from the Denimite.
"Every age through the millennia has been defined by a material—stone, bronze, iron, plastic, etc," the company wrote. "We believe the new age will be the age of composites. Nature did it first with composites like wood, bone and shell.
"This is the genesis of a new age of learning from nature and exploring new bio-composites that will replace less efficient materials."
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