And the cows?–Well, I suppose they may or may not be happy about the news. It depends.

One of the random articles that a Google search gave me (while looking for info on clothing made from paper) was a feature about clothing made from milk…and technically they are correct.
According to Mairi Beautyman of The Huffington Post,

A factory in Italy [has begun] making organic yarn from casein, a protein used to make cheese. Reportedly, this chemical-free stuff, marketed as Milkofil, has some “Blade Runner”-like perks: Thanks to natural lubricants in the protein, you can toss the skin cream. It actually keeps your skin soft and moisturized. Plus, super soft and anti-bacterial fibers stabilize body temperature.

If you view this slideshow (from the International Herald Tribune), you’ll also learn that

fibers were in fact first obtained from milk back in 1935, when Fascist Italy was bent on pursuing a policy of autarky, or commodity self-reliance aimed at avoiding international trade. Under names such as Lanital, Aralac and Merinova, these yarns replaced wool until the post-war period. By the 1950s, however, such substitutes had been happily forgotten, an embarrassing blip on the national fashion conscience.


In the same article, Beautyman introduces us to the 360 Paper Bottle. I would love to get my hands on one of these to really see what it’s all about…

Because in my head, I’m imagining what happens to your McDonalds cup when you let the rest of your rootbeer sit on the counter overnight (or, for a few days). Because we’ve all come home to a sticky rootbeer mess from THAT kind of paper cup, haven’t we? Well, this paper bottle does look quite different—more sleek, all official and heavy-duty-like.

Apparently, plastic clothes hangers are on the chopping block, too. And with good reason. I noticed that someone had “conveniently” name-dropped the following product in a website’s comment section, and I was too curious to not check it out. I’m talking about Ditto Hangers, a company specializing in recycled paper and plastic clothes hangers, and I hope it catches on! They offer a fairly wide selection of styles for their hangers (in paper and plastic) and the website also offers a good summary of the dilemma retailers face between convenience, cost, and environmentalism…

Plastic and wire hangers have become so commonplace in the retail environment that they have become virtually invisible. That is until it’s time to dispose of them. Municipal recyclers won’t and can’t take them. Made of 7 different types of low-grade plastic (if marked at all), they are extremely difficult to identify and segregate on a rapidly moving recycling line. Made from multiple materials (plastic, wire, non-slip vinyl pads, etc.) the components are costly to separate.

I worked in retail for many years, so I can understand the dilemma, and would be very interested to see how strong these paper hangers are. Retailers—and especially customers—are very rough on hangers. I’m not sure how long the paper would hold up, meaning that the hangers would have to be replaced frequently, which would require purchasing lots of extra hangers to have around. (And personally, when I’m shopping, I like to hook the hangers onto the strap of my shoulderbag, so that my hands are free to keep browsing the racks. Would they stand up to the beatings?)

But I digress. Luckily, Ditto Hangers also makes recycled plastic PET hangers, which look pretty sleek in comparison to the paper ones. It looks like more and more companies are making an effort to switch to recycled, but the key is to then RE-USE the recycled items so they don’t end up in landfills when the day is done.

The retail supply-chain is the most obvious place to start dealing with all this plastic….lets hope they keep the new ideas coming!