In nature, the idea of returning something to the earth — the idea of no waste — isn’t radical. So why is it for human production? That’s the question Natural Fiber Welding (NFW), the company behind next-gen materials MIRUM® and CLARUS®, asked when designing its new circularity concept, the Endwell Program.
NFW’s starting point is the simple (yet often unspoken) truth that “no amount of reducing, reusing, or recycling will change the fundamental issues with products that are unsustainable from the start.” Plastics are made from matter that pollutes the environment and doesn’t naturally biodegrade into the planet’s soils. Whenever we manufacture with plastics, we’re choosing to keep them in the loop, which means they’ll always be around to damage the Earth.
Instead, NFW’s Endwell Program aims to “start well, stay clean, [and] end well,” with materials that can return to nature safely after use. To launch the program, NFW has chosen a surprising product collaboration: equestrian footing.
In partnership with ArenaMend, NFW has created Noviun, the first-ever plastic-free fiber amendment for the equestrian community. Basically, the stuff that horses walk, trot and gallop on, is usually made from a plastic fiber. You’d be forgiven for thinking it was dirt, but it is, in fact, a ton of plastic. A staggering 15,000 pounds of plastic can be found in a single 20,000 square foot arena.
Noviun is made using a combination of NFW’s existing materials and other natural materials to create a fiber that performs to the same level as its plastic counterpart. With no chemical additives, it poses no threat to the ground it’s laid on. In fact, because it’s all natural, it supports the soil with a carbon source from plants.
“This is true circularity. The elements used in our material are returned, by nature, to the form they started as, with the value add of providing durable performance to horse arena footing,” said soil scientist and NFW Circularity Engineer Stephen Taylor, Ph.D. “With this program we’re keeping the plant ingredients that give NFW materials their amazing properties in the terrestrial carbon cycle, something I’ve not seen many examples of in the material economy.”
Get the dirt on the new material and the Endwell Program on NFW’s website. And if you’re hungry for more NFW updates, check out its latest plant-based leather collab with PANGAIA.