Clarisse Merlet was an architecture student in 2017 when she saw the amount of textile waste generated each year. In France, it is estimated at around 4 million tonnes, and this is only a fraction of what is thrown away worldwide; in the United States, it was 17 million tonnes three years ago. Very few of these discarded clothes are collected for reuse or recycling: less than a third in France, and half (15%) in the United States.
Merlet was aware of the dwindling natural resources and enormous waste inherent in the construction industry.
He thought there might be a better way to build that would reduce the demand for virgin materials and take advantage of resources already mined.
That’s how he came up with the idea for FabBRICK, his award-winning company that makes decorative and insulating bricks from old clothes.
The basic component of the bricks are crushed clothesthat Merlet is already buying land from a supplier in Normandy.
Each brick uses the equivalent of two or three shirts, any type can be used, not only cotton, but also polyester, spandex, PVC, etc…
The scraps are mixed with an eco-friendly glue that she developed herself, then pressed into a brick mould.
This mold uses mechanical compression to form the bricks, so it requires no more energy than a human worker to press it.
The wet bricks are removed from the mold and allowed to dry for two weeks before use.
As for construction, brick cannot be used for the shell, but Merlet is working on it and hopes it will be in the future.
For now they are fire and moisture resistantand constitute a Excellent thermal and acoustic insulation. They are suitable for separating rooms and decorating the walls of shops (especially where clothes are sold).
The bricks can be ordered in four different sizes, they can be used to make furniture such as lamps, tables, stools, etc.
Since our creation at the end of 2018, we have already designed more than 40,000 bricks which represent 12 tons of recycled textiles.
FabBRICK can customize the color of the wall with the clothes you decide to recycle.
Merlet experimented with making bricks from crushed surgical masks, an interesting potential use for some of the pandemic-related waste we’re now seeing around the world.
We still don’t know how we will sell it, because it still has to pass a series of lab tests, including fire tests.
The company is still small but the idea is exciting.
More information: www.fab-brick.com