From bottle to fabric: seat upholstery made of PET

From bottle to fabric: seat upholstery made of PET

March 3, 2020
Lloyd Fuller

The fashion industry produces jewelry, clothes and bags from PET bottles. In addition, more and more furniture is being made from waste material such as paper shreds, plastic bottles and wood chippings. But the German auto giant Audi is now, for the first time, offering seat upholstery made from recycled material for the new Audi A3

Sustainability is a central pillar in the Audi corporate strategy, which applies to technology as well as to the production processes. Seat upholstery made from secondary raw materials are being used in the fourth generation of the Audi A3. Up to 89% of the textile used consists of recycled PET bottles, which are transformed into yarn in an elaborate procedure. This results in fabrics that guarantee the same quality standards in terms of look and feel as conventional textile upholstery.

All in all, up to 45 PET 1.5-liter bottles are used per seating system. On top of this, an additional 62 PET bottles were recycled for the carpet in the new Audi A3. Other components in the interior are also increasingly made using secondary raw materials, e.g. insulating materials and absorbers, the side panel trims of the luggage compartment, the loading floor and the mats. Audi says its goal is for the percentage of recycled material in its fleet is to rise considerably in the coming years. In the process, the premium brand will continue to offer its customers products with the high level of quality that they are used to.

At present, the seat upholstery is not yet made completely of recyclable material. “The lower layer of woven material, which is connected to the upper material with adhesive, is what poses the challenge,” stressed Ute Grönheim, who is in charge of material development in the textiles division at Audi. “We are working on replacing this with recyclable polyester. It is our goal to make the seat upholstery completely from unmixed material so that it can be recycled again. We are no longer very far away from this.” In the long term, all seat upholstery across all model series will be made of recycled material.

Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2020 will take place at Cologne Messe, Germany, on Tuesday 16 June and Wednesday 17 June. To register for this highly focused, solutions-driven event, please click here. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please email peter@trans-globalevents.com

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