Quilt Market: Eco-Friendly Quilting Products

Our editors chat with the makers of ecologically friendly quilting products at International Quilt Market spring 2007.

-Everyone talks about wanting to be green or organic. Whether it's to finding green ways for producing a product or developing new products, here's what you can look forward to finding on the store shelves. -My name is Linda Pumphrey and I'm a sales manager for Mountain Mist and Mountain Mist is bringing out a new green batting. It's called EcoCraft and actually it comes from the corn kernel. And how the process is, they take the corn and they get it into a starch and from the starch they make corn syrup. And then from that, they do a patent process and they come up with a liquid called lactide. And that from the lactide, they make the resin. And from the resin beads, then they extrude fiber or fill. Polylactide actually looks a little similar to polyester fiber, although it's more soft and this is what actually the fiber looks like. So, if you bought a bag of fiberfill, this is very similar to what you should be getting, but then actually it's extruded from the little pellets. We're making it actually in 2 different versions. One, is a 100% PLA or polylactide which is very much similar to 100% polyester but it has a lot of characteristics of a natural fiber and that it's breathable and it is biodegradable. So, if heaven forbid, they've filled every bit of land fill, it would compost back down to dirt, making it very earth-friendly and eco-friendly product. It's very green. And we're doing it 100% which, when you largely dry it, it's very soft, breathable product. And it's also 50% cotton, 50% polylactide and it's a little more body to it; great for wall hangings and where, as well as different size of quilt thought of. -Part of our whole process is to make sure that we buy from places that have a sustainable outlook in their future as well as ours. So, trying to be environmentally-friendly and to try and be-- This is to keep yourselves within that ecological society and make sure that we're not adversely affecting the environment. We buy from selected farmers that are particularly young farmers who wanna have a future-- sustainable future in this, in our industry as well as others. So part of our process of purchasing cottons and wools and all the other fibers that we use, we select from people who have an outlook of being sustainable, so that's a big part of the business of it. Hopefully, we can set by a very small example. And then if others stay with the same kind of thinking. If one guy is doing it, maybe others will as well. I'm Tony Sullivan from Victorian Textiles in Melbourne, Australia. We produce batting and about 13 other different varieties of battings in Australia. This is cotton batting. Of course in this country, primarily cotton is very, very popular. One of the new features that we've been recommended is trying a source cotton that was environmentally-friendly. And we've actually gone to farmers that are using new kind of hybrid plant that doesn't require a lot of pesticides, doesn't require a lot of water. Therefore, we are using it that's extremely environmentally-friendly. From a sustainability aspect of their business, we've implemented it right through our system from recycled water. We actually use rain water which is coming off the roofs that fall in our factories. We use environmentally-friendly plastics. We print all of our catalogs with waterless printing which is a new form of printing and on recycled paper. This new form of printing is actually-- it doesn't require any waste that would harm the environment. All of our plastics from all of the bags we have, all of the outsides, everything that we do. Obviously, plastic is inherent in the environment with merchandising, but we've also implemented fully biodegradable products right through [unk]