Using natural materials comes with several perks that we wouldn’t want to miss. In the case of ONO Creations we even use exclusively those that are not from animal origin. There are many examples for sustainable natural materials, such as cork or tencel®, each with their own benefits. The one benefit they all have in common is that they are less harmful for the environment than their synthetic counterparts that are, for example, made from plastic or even than those natural materials that are not grown in a sustainable way such as conventionally grown cotton.
Even before we created the first of our ONO Creations products we already knew that we wanted to use only natural materials. In fact, the material was so important for us that we started with material research before we even designed the first products. Ultimately we developed our very own cork-tencel ‘leather’ as our staple material.
Cork is the bark of cork oak trees and Portugal is one of the main producers of it. The extraction of the bark itself begins when the tree has reached an age of about 25 years. As cork is a part of the bark, its removal doesn’t cause any harm to the tree but simply regrows. After 9 to 11 years the tree is ready for the next extraction of cork. During the progress of re-growth the cork oak binds around five times the amount of CO2 compared to other trees.
Tencel® or lyocell, which we use as a backing material for the cork is another example of a sustainable natural material, which is also made from trees – commonly from eucalyptus. An advantage is that these trees generally grow on land, which is otherwise unusable for agriculture. Further, the wood for making lyocell is sourced from sustainably managed tree farms, which ensure that the number of trees that are cut down are matched by new trees planted to grow back. The whole process of making the fabric is an innovative closed-loop process turning wood pulp into fibers. This means that throughout the different steps, the use of energy and water is economized and the impact on the environment minimal.
Through the innovative processes the plants generally retain their inherent characteristics. This often gives added features to the fabrics. In the case of bamboo or seacell this means that the fabrics are naturally antibacterial and anti-fungal. Cork has a natural protective layer which is retained during manufacturing of the material, making it water-repellent and even resistant to stains from grease. This is a very useful feature for bags, and gives you a definite advantage in usability for example when comparing it to animal leather.
Using materials made in a sustainable or organic way also has benefits for the users of the end product. Most of them have a tightly controlled production cycle and many have certifications like GOTS or Oeko-Tex that require strict monitoring of the type and amount of chemicals which can be used. Using organic and natural materials reduces harmful exposure to chemicals for those who carry the products.
The bottom line is that if we had to make the choice all over for our ono bags, we would again choose to go with natural materials, not only because they are environmentally friendly, but also because they have clear advantages for the end user in terms of health and usability.
About the Author: We’re passionate about creating beautiful products. Products you will fall in love with. Products that are awe-inspiring, made in a cooperative, social atmosphere, only using natural and sustainable materials. As individuals and as a company we seek to be in unison with our fellow human beings and with our environment. The results are aesthetic and unique creations of highest quality inspired by the playfulness and beauty of nature. WE VALUE QUALITY. We want our products to last. We exclusively work with suppliers, who not only provide high quality materials, but also use eco-friendly processes. We believe that working together based on honesty, transparency and trust, creates a bigger value for you and everyone involved. Our aim is to produce items, which are not only unique and sustainable through design and material, but which are also sewed with love and passion for each of our clients.