Novoleap Co., Ltd (Koup) has created the world’s first t-shirt made from recycled plastic bottles to reduce single-use plastic and infused with cinnamon extract as a natural antimicrobial replacement for toxic chemicals and heavy metals. This innovative product will exhibit online at CES 2021 along with the 100 featured Taiwanese startups selected by Taiwan Tech Arena (TTA).
A technology that originated in ancient Egypt
Koup Co-Founder Brian Chuang said his company is on a mission to challenge the status quo and create more eco-friendly products. “We believe in the circular economy model, and the way forward is to reuse, recycle, and reduce,” Chuang said.
“My background in textiles prompted me to search for eco-friendly textile technologies that can make a difference. After months of R&D and market searching, I came across this novel, anti-microbial textile technology based on cinnamon,” Chuang said.
He said cinnamon has been used since ancient Egyptian times as a natural preservative. Cinnamon contains a natural compound called cinnamaldehyde, which has natural antimicrobial properties and is widely used in products such as toothpaste and chewing gum.
“Sweat itself does not carry odor. It is actually the bacteria on your skin (such as staphylococcus aureus) that produce odor as they feed on sweat. The way cinnamon works is that it inhibits the growth of sweat-eating bacteria. Thus, odor is not produced, keeping you smelling fresh,” Chuang explained.
The t-shirt that suits your everyday needs
Designed for travelers, the Koup cinnamon t-shirt is lightweight (30% lighter than an average cotton t-shirt) and ultra-packable (smaller than rolled socks).
“The natural anti-odor and quick-dry performance features mean you can bring this as the only t-shirt on your trip, which further reduces your gear. Also, the moisture-wicking property means the t-shirt keeps you dry and comfortable when you are on the go and its thermal characteristics help regulate your body temperature,” he said.
Customers wonder if the shirt smells like cinnamon. Chuang replied saying, “Unfortunately, our t-shirt doesn’t smell of cinnamon. The aroma we love evaporates during the yarn making process.”
Green is the new black: 100% recycled polyester
Koup t-shirts are designed to be recyclable because they are made from 100% recycled polyester, without any spandex or blends such as polyester cotton, which makes recycling difficult.
“We chose recycled plastic bottles as our core material so we could help reduce the impact of single-use plastic. It is estimated that over 35 billion plastic bottles are thrown away in the US alone every year. However, only about 25% of this is recycled,” Chuang said. He added that, “By using 100% recycled plastic instead of virgin plastic, we are keeping plastic wastes from going into landfills or becoming ocean plastic. Moreover, recycled polyester can save up to 58% in energy costs and 45% in greenhouse gas emissions.”
The anti-odor technology in Koup t-shirts works by inhibiting the growth of “odor-producing” bacteria, but does not prevent the transfer of smells from cooking, cigarettes, and other odor sources onto the shirt.
Koup t-shirt is machine washable and can be tumble dried at low temperature. But, as Koup is all in for sustainability and energy-saving and its t-shirt dries pretty fast, hand washing and clothesline drying is recommended for maximum environmental friendliness and maximum wear.
Chuang worked in the performance textile industry for nearly 10 years and has seen first hand the harmful impacts on the planet of the chemicals that are used to enhance textile performance such as making textiles anti-microbial and water repellent.
CES 2021 TTA-VR Pavilion: https://pse.is/39vg43
SOURCE Novoleap Co., Ltd (Koup)