Starbucks store interiors are being further enhanced by a revolutionary new textile made from natural and renewable raw materials. Created by The Formary, a New Zealand-based design company, using a unique, upcycling1 process, Starbucks coffee sacks are combined with wool resulting in a new sustainable textile called "WoJo."
WoJo, from wool and jute, the material used in coffee sacks, was conceptualised by The Formary, and has been brought to life for Starbucks in collaboration with UK weavers Camira and wool suppliers, Wools of New Zealand.
The revolutionary new WoJo fabric will be used in a range of Starbucks seating and forms part of the company's commitment to ethical sourcing and environmental stewardship, at the same time as supporting wool farmers.
The new textile is being unveiled as part of UK Wool Week and will be featured at Starbucks flagship Conduit Street store in London's West End.
Additionally, the organisers of UK Wool Week - The Campaign for Wool, convened by HRH The Prince of Wales, and The Society of British Interior Design (SBID) - have recognised Starbucks and The Formary with an award for Sustainable Product Innovation.
"We're very fortunate and delighted to work with The Formary to help produce this wonderful sustainable product," said Thom Breslin, director of design, Starbucks UK and Ireland. "The unique production process, which overcomes many previous technical barriers, enables us to reuse our coffee sacks and reintroduce them into our stores in a way that further enhances their interiors for our customers."
The key challenge to overcome in upcycling used coffee sacks was to prevent the shedding of fibres from the jute. The solution came to Bernadette Casey, Director of The Formary, while walking through the snow in Central Park after attending a felt exhibition in New York.
"It occurred to me that the perfect way to reduce the jute shedding was to blend it with wool. The more I thought about it I was convinced we were onto something. And so we began experimenting with wool and recycled jute in a number of different applications." said Bernadette.
Weaving was identified as a way of combining wool and jute - the key hurdle to overcome was to find a weaver that did not object to old sack jute being used in pristine wool production lines. There was also a need to identify a supplier of the highest quality sustainable wool.
"We knew from the outset that for the process to deliver an exceptional product that was both scalable and met Starbucks' needs, we would need to bring together a group of suppliers with a shared commitment to innovation and sustainability, and great track records in their specific fields," continued Bernadette.