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Human Material Loop

I. SUMMARY INFORMATION
Project
281069
Status
Submitted
Award category
Shaping a circular industrial ecosystem and supporting life-cycle thinking
You want to submit
NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS RISING STARS: concepts or ideas submitted by young talents (aged 30 or less)
Project title
Human Material Loop
Full concept/idea title
Utilizing keratin protein fiber waste and developing high-performance textile.
Description

Human Material Loop collects and processes waste human hair and develops high-performance textile with the lowest carbon footprint possible. Integrating waste human hair into a closed-loop recycling system and introducing new material to the textile industry can be a game changer. In Europe, 72 million kg of human hair waste is generated.Human hair is a keratin protein fiber with versatile properties and huge potentials to radicalize the textile industry.

What is the geographical scope of your concept/idea?
Cross-border/international
Netherlands
Netherlands
Does your concept/idea address mainly urban or rural issues?
Mainly urban
Does your concept/idea refer to a physical transformation of the built environment or other types of transformations?
It refers to a physical transformation of the built environment ('hard investment')
Has your concept/idea benefited from EU programmes and/or funds?
No
Has your concept/idea won an EU prize?
No
How did you hear about the New European Bauhaus Prizes ?
Social media
On whose behalf are you submitting the application?
As an individual
II. DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT
Please provide a summary of your concept/ idea

The textile industry is the second-largest polluter just after the oil industry. We need radical changes if we want to maintain this planet for future generations.

Human Material Loop collects and processes waste human hair and develops high-performance textile with the lowest carbon footprint possible. In Europe, 72 million kg of hair waste is generated. Hair accumulates in the solid waste streams, choking the drainage systems.  Human hair is a keratin protein fiber just like wool or alpaca and unlike other materials, human hair does not require any cultivation, the material itself is taken care of by individuals until it is cut off. Hair has a strength-to-weight ratio comparable to steel. It can be stretched up to one and a half times its original length before breaking. The material is collected from hair salons spun into yarns and woven into applicable textile pieces.  Human Material Loop offers a globally applicable system, with local sourcing and production, a  closed-loop recycling system where value is given to all our waste, and a solution to reach a zero-waste society.  

Please indicate the main themes of your concept/idea with 5 key words
closed-loop recycling
textile industry
zero-waste society
high-performance textile
global system
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of environmental sustainability (including circularity) and how these would be met.
Please highlight how the concept/idea can be exemplary in this context

Human Material Loop strives to make an impact on lowering the waste stream of our cities and creating zero waste hair salons. Processing waste hair and integrating it into the textile industry would affect: the current demand for currently used materials (cotton, synthetic fibers, wool) and their negative consequences on our environment, and would push for local and accountable labor. Human Material Loop does not only lower the waste stream of our cities but due to the local production, the manufacturing processes can be closely monitored, products can be manufactured on demand instead of minimum amounts with oversea shipments. Production on demand means avoiding overproduction and creating dead stocks that end up in landfills. A 100% recycled and biodegradable product can exchange synthetic fibers and avoid the accumulation of landfills. Human Materials Loop promotes prosperity while protecting the planet. As a company we are steering our business activities to contribute to several SDGs, effectively using business as a force for good.

Human Material Loop upcycles our waste, uses carbon-neutral transport for its raw material, and boosts local economies with local sourcing and local production. Integrating a biodegradable, natural fiber would reduce the CO2 and related greenhouse gases within the manufacturing and discarding process within the textile industry. 

Everybody likes to get pretty by getting a new haircut. Human Material Loop makes it possible to benefit from our beauty obsessions. The left behind hair waste at hair salons is collected and processed for sustainable textile applications. 

Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of aesthetics and quality of experience beyond functionality and how these would be met.
Please highlight how the concept/idea can be exemplary in this context

Everybody likes to get pretty by getting a new haircut. Human Material Loop makes it possible to benefit from our beauty obsessions. The left-behind hair waste at hair salons is collected and processed for sustainable textile applications. Human Material Loop believes in a shared economy, where not just the knowledge and technology are shared but also the materials. What is waste for one industry is value for another. The waste hair from the beauty industry is the raw material for the textile industry, the waste material of the hair textile production is fertilizer for agriculture. What makes  Human Material Loop unique is the belief in ecocentrism and the view that humans are part of the same ecosystem as every other living being on this planet. It is time to contribute and become material for a sustainable future. There is no other company that involves humans as material for a sustainable future, ethical production from waste material with zero cruelty. A biodegradable fiber that is sourced locally, will not just boost local economies but also assure an environment-friendly product that lasts for a long time due to its high tensile strength. Human Material Loop utilizes all our waste and gives value to them. Human Material Loop makes a step ahead to reach a zero-waste society and treat all our waste with value. Trash is just raw material in the wrong place.

Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of inclusion (equal opportunities, public participation, citizen engagement, co-design, universal design, accessibility, affordability, etc.) and how these would be met.
Please highlight how the concept/idea can be exemplary in this context

The source of the material is provided by hair salons. Hair salons will become zero waste hair salons. Human Material Loop will provide a solution to individuals via their hair salons to contribute to a more sustainable future. Further development after the raw material collection happens within the textile and agriculture industry. Hair fibers are processed together with textile manufacturers and the waste material of the textile production would be handed over to the agriculture industry to develop biofertilizer. Human hair is one of the highest nitrogen-containing organic materials in nature because it is predominantly made up of proteins. In addition, human hair also contains sulfur, carbon, and 20 other elements essential for plants. Recent experiments on horticulture plants show that direct application of human hair to soil provides the necessary plant nutrients for over two to three cropping seasons. Human Material Loop’s main goal is to develop textile to B2B, mostly for brands, designers who apply the textile on their products. The focus on ethical and environmentally friendly materials are increasing among brands and designers. Consumers’ demand for products that are not harming our environment also increases.

Please explain how these three dimensions would be combined in your concept/idea.
Please highlight how this approach can be exemplary

Sustainable fabrics often come from plants and animals. Just like food crops, these natural resources are farmed and cost more than synthetic materials that are made of chemicals.

Although many claims that sustainable fashion can be had by all, realistically it can be prohibitively expensive. The base costs that go into sustainable fashion are inherently more expensive due to sourcing costly eco-friendly natural materials and paying people a fair wage for sewing garments. High base costs compounded with retail markups make sustainable fashion inaccessible.

Textiles woven from waste human hair can give accessibility to an affordable product without compromising on the carbon footprint. Our waste becomes the raw material without using land and degrading soil, due to the cleanness of the material water is not required for its processing, lowering the water usage within the textile industry. Local materials mean cutting on transport costs and closely monitoring ethical labor and fair working conditions to local laws.

Treating human hair as any other fiber can offer a sustainable and economically beneficial product that makes sustainable choices affordable for everyone.

 

 

Fashion empowered us all, allowed us to express our identities, fashion designers were able to create anything that came to their imagination. But creativity cannot be compromised either our planet.

Fashion designers are at a danger of extinction if we do not provide alternative materials to work with. The most sustainable solution today to get a new addition to our wardrobe is to buy second-hand. That means fashion designers are not needed anymore. Human Material Loop provides a solution to designers by offering material with a carbon footprint close to zero.

Please highlight the innovative character of the concept/idea as compared to mainstream practices in the field of the concept/idea.

What does the future hold for recycling? Two words: zero waste. Or to be more explicit, the future of recycling will be a closed-loop system where all discarded materials become resources for others to use. The growing population and the rising standard of living around the world will continue to put increasing demand on the finite resources of our planet. Zero waste is a goal that we must achieve. Is a zero-waste society actually possible? Mother Nature has operated on a zero-waste basis for billions of years, surely humans can as well, but as to how, well now there’s the rub. The vision is clear, and as more and more people, companies, communities, and public agencies commit themselves to it, their concept of waste changes. It is no longer waste, it is now a commodity with value, and as such, how it is collected and processed is changing. The focus is on developing strategies and innovations that will recover the highest possible value from the waste stream.

What is the value of our waste? Can we benefit from our beauty obsessions? Enabling small business such as hair salons to utilize their waste, will not only lower the waste of our cities but also allows small businesses to operate on a zero-waste basis.

 

The two basic treatment methods of separated biowaste are composting and fermentation. The easiest and at the moment, the most widespread method, is composting. Coffee grounds, orange peels are common things businesses specialized in collecting. However, there is a lot more we can do with another biowaste. Like hair, it can be used in the textile industry, agriculture industry. By enabling small businesses to run on a zero-waste basis, we can reach a zero-waste society.

Please detail the general plans that you have for the further development, promotion and/or implementation of your concept/idea.

Human Material Loop’s main mission is to enable and support the local economy, businesses, communities and create a sustainable business model together with other collaborators. By joining forces, sharing resources Human Material Loop aims to set up a zero-waste basis for local hair salons, develop textile from waste human hair and distribute the developed material to local designers who want to work with a high-performing material on a low carbon footprint level.

Together with the Wageningen University and Research, the focus would be on developing biofertilizer from waste hair to distribute it to city parks and gardens, to individuals’ gardens, and to citizens’ homes.

The direct yarn development is taking place with a continuous collaboration of Gianluca Vengi, an Italian spinning mill which has been established earlier this year. However, the developed yarns will be woven in different countries, in the Netherlands in one of the most sustainable weaving mills in Enschede Textielstad. In Germany, we set up collaborations with weave designers to enable both large-scale and small-scale production and experiments.

Imagine that your idea/concept is awarded in the New European Bauhaus Prizes 2022. What kind of initiatives would you take throughout the following year (June 2022- June 2023)

Currently, we partnered up with Green Salon Collective, an initiative that enables hundreds of hair salons in the UK to operate on a zero waste basis, and they are further expanding to the Netherland together with our waste collection partner, Seenons. A large amount waste stream of human hair will flow in big amounts to our production facility. Winning the Bauhaus Prize would mean, we can scale up our yarn production, develop a wide range of different yarn for several industries and expand our area of development. 

III. UPLOAD PICTURES
IV. VALIDATION
By ticking this box, you declare that you are not in in one or more of the exclusion situations foreseen under Article 136 of the Financial Regulation.
Yes
By ticking this box, you declare that all the information provided in this form is factually correct, that you assume sole liability in the event of a claim relating to the activities carried out in the framework of the contest, that the proposed concept/idea has not been proposed for the New European Bauhaus Prizes 2022 in any other category or strand and that it has not been subject to any type of investigation, which could lead to a financial correction because of irregularities or fraud.
Yes
By submitting your application, you guarantee that you are the author or have the rights to proceed with the application and to authorise the use of the project, concept, idea, and that you have obtained any necessary consents, licenses or assignments from third parties and included copyright notices when necessary.
Yes
By submitting your application, you understand that all the applications that meet the eligibility requirements will be shared for the purposes of the selection processes, and notably published on the secured platform https://prizes.new-european-bauhaus.eu/ and for the purposes of the promotion of these on the New European Bauhaus website and/or other European Commission communication channels. In this sense, the applications would be widely available. Applicants should ensure that they present their ideas, concepts, projects, in such a way that they could be shared without giving rise to intellectual property related concerns. If your submission is selected as one of the finalists, it will additionally be shared for the purpose of the public vote that will take place. The European Union is granted a licence to use and share your application with the general public and the official external experts for the purposes of the selection process, including the voting. The European Union has the right to use the images and visual materials and the description provided in the application for communication purposes related to the contest and beyond. Rights granted comprise the right to store, reproduce, display, publish and communicate or distribute copies in electronic or digital format, including, but not only, through the internet. Unless you have disclosed your name, the European Commission has no obligation to share your name when using or disseminating your contribution to the public. The European Union cannot be held responsible in case any submitted idea, project, concept is found to infringe third parties rights. The European Union shall be neither responsible for the use that third parties may do of the applications or related content.
Yes

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