Aussie company launches ECO towel made from RPET

With life going back to some sort of normal, consumers start to refocus again on what’s important to them when it comes to buying products including eco, ethical and sustainability.

Melbourne manufacturer, KE Design, recently launched an Australian made towel made from RPET, a soft and absorbent recycled yarn that uses post-consumer recycled plastic bottles and fabric cut-offs.

It’s something founder Michael Krutsch has been developing for a few years in conjunction with textile and plastic recyclers.

“Reducing this waste is a priority and we’re super proud of what we have achieved with this launch,” he enthuses.

“People love the fact they can look good and give back to the environment.”

The aptly named ECO towel has a 50 per cent lower carbon footprint than organic cotton. The company uses water-based inks that are compressed at very high temperature to trap and bond their microparticles together, also helping to protect our ocean. Each ECO towel keeps approximately 20 water bottles out of landfill and oceans.

Additionally, KE Design is supporting Textile Afterlife Stewardship with its unique initiative, the ECO Towels Trade-In Scheme (ETTS) that lets you trade your old towel to help the planet even further. Simply return your old ECO towel and they deduct $20 off the price of your new towel. The old towel is then sent to textile recyclers to be made into new fabric or carpet, reducing the drain on the world’s resources and reducing landfill. 

“Sustainability and product afterlife are high on our list and so important nowadays. We came up with a unique towel trade-in scheme, which is another innovation we’re proud of.”

KE Design has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1993, starting out printing lens cloths for opticians. Unfortunately that business dried up about 15 years ago.

“With a team of skilled printers and the equipment ready, we pivoted and started to print tea towels. We now have a team of 12 who work out of our factory space in Brunswick making tea towels, printed textiles and now the ECO towel.”

A combination of eco-conscious technology, lateral thinking and progressive team leadership has seen KE Design ride a new wave of success. 

“I believe our success can be put down to our lateral thinking and ability to work differently. For the past 20 years, we have been employing workers with disabilities from a local special employment provider. They work alongside our regular staff and do a fantastic job. Some of them have now become members of our regular workforce and assist and supervise other workers with disabilities.

“It really is a win-win outcome for all parties. Being small and flexible has also been a plus. For example, when our recycled ECO towels started taking off, we were able to change production over in days, not months. I’m super proud of keeping manufacturing local, supporting local workers and also helping the environment,” Krutsch concludes.