There are fewer and fewer natural resources to build with but more and more waste. Fighting back, FabBRICK transforms our old clothes into an innovative building material.
In three years, FabBRICK has transformed 8 metric tons of textiles into more than 17,000 bricks.
Every year in Europe, 4 million metric tons of textiles are thrown away. Meanwhile, the construction sector is the largest producer of waste: 227 million metric tons in France alone. What if by associating these two industries in a circular approach, we could free up waste disposal sites and cut the cost for the environment?
This is the challenge taken up by Clarisse Merlet, an entrepreneur and architect, with an idea as simple as it is brilliant: FabBRICK, bricks made from end-of-life garments.
Made exclusively from bio-sourced and non-polluting ingredients, on average one FabBRICK-made brick contains the equivalent of two T-shirts. A raw material that the entrepreneur receives ready shredded from a clothing collection company. The colored scraps are mixed with a glue developed by Clarisse Merlet, then placed in a mold and mechanically compressed.
Developed especially for the project, the machine uses no energy other than that of the architect, who activates it with a jack. At the end of the process, the bricks dry naturally for two weeks. They are self-locking and can be stacked without moving.
The old clothes that we put in the special collection bins in the city find a second life: any pieces that are too damaged to be reused become excellent building materials, offering both sound and heat insulation.
Prototypes and awards
« I was an architecture student looking for ways to build differently," says Clarisse Merlet to Brut. So I made different prototypes with different ecological glues and tried different ways of putting the textile in the mold to compress it. Eventually I came up with a prototype that held up well, reacts well to fire and holds up against moisture, too. »
What started out as a course project is now the entrepreneur’s pride and joy: winner of the Faire Paris competition in 2017 and the Start’in ESS call for projects in 2019, Clarisse Merlet has now produced more than 17,000 bricks – equivalent to 8 metric tons of recycled textile./p>
She has delivered to seven construction projects and can now count on the help of her first employee. Among her customers are ready-to-wear brands like Jules, who use her bricks to make partitions and storage units! A real “return to sender” for a life-size illustration of the interest of circularity in a clothing shop.
CREDIT: Main picture © Getty Images