The durability and low maintenance requirements of vinyl hold appeal in high-traffic commercial, hospitality, and healthcare spaces. However, in recent years, the environmentally harmful process of manufacturing vinyl has increased interest in more eco-conscious alternatives, such as polyethylene-based textiles and recycled flooring.
Traditionally made with PVC—a plastic containing phthalates and metals that can leach into the environment they are discarded—textile and flooring companies that produce vinyl have begun launching altered-PVC options in response to the industry's demand for greener products, Chile–based Fil Doux Textiles has released Vinylife, a biodegradable, phthlate-free PVC textile capable of breaking down through enzymes incorporated into the vinyl. After it has been discarded into an anaerobic environment, namely a landfill, Vinylife's enzymes initiate the process of decomposition of the PVC—which typically does not biodegrade—and microorganisms help break down the PVC, according to Fil Doux.
Produced in Chile and Brazil, Vinylife's first collection, Prestige, is available in more than 270 bold colors, prints, and organic textures like leather. Capable of withstanding 200,000-plus double rubs on the Wyzenbeek scale, the fabric can also be treated with the company's proprietary stain protector, Pro-Tech. Microscopic pores in the fabric allow it breathe, enhances its softness, and enable temperature control.
This article is part of a weekly series spotlighting the latest in innovative products and materials. Read more of ARCHITECT's Objects of the Moment here.