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  • Kasturi Goswami

Thinking Beyond Plastics-The Remarkable Greenspun® Technology

In a world with an ever-increasing population, needs, and thus perilous environmental pollution, people around the globe are making small yet significant shifts towards a sustainable, minimalist lifestyle. This gradual shift is an aid towards the development of a green and eco-friendly means for the decrement pollution. Thus, companies and organizations are coming forth with innovative tech and means to an eco-friendly yet indulgent lifestyle, including fashion.

The apparel industry is accused of wastage of clean water, emission of greenhouse gases, and creation of environmental filth. A company named, DGrade, had come up with an ultimate form of retrospection and solution to the above accusations. Based in Dubai, UAE, set up in 2010, the company founder and CEO Kris Barber and his team have been achieving remarkable heights in being an eco-friendly organization.

Kris Barber

Kris has over 30 years of experience in the field of clothing manufacturing. He initially started by setting up a company in the UK. He was actively involved in recycling at that stage and had set up supply chains with China, India, and Pakistan to make fabric. In 2010, he moved to Dubai. 10 million water bottles are produced every day in the UAE but a very small percentage of them is recycled; also due to the rampant improper disposal problem, 50% of camel deaths are due to the ingestion of plastic. Thus, sensing the need for a green initiative in UAE, Kris launched DGrade.

Thus, DGragde had come up with a convenient method to turn waste into something useful and also create a positive environmental impact. They use waste PET1 plastic bottles (the ones mainly used for bottling drinking water) with the cap and label intact to create yarn and thus make apparel and accessories out of it. DGrade recycles bottles collected through Simply Bottles (a DGrade initiative of plastic waste collection) into Greenspun® yarn for textile production.

Greenspun® Technology starts out by washing the bottles and shredding them into flakes. These are then sent to factories to be heated and extruded into fiber and spun into recycled polyester yarn. This yarn is then used to produce a wide range of more than 200 types of fabric, viz. jersey, twill, poplin, chiffon, canvas, etc. suitably dyed and treated for products from sportswear, leisurewear to corporate wear. Each stage of the process is audited and certified as environmentally ethical.

In addition to creating a solution to recycling plastic, DGrade also promotes environmental awareness through workshops, events, and activities. In 2017, the Simply Bottles initiative reached out to hold tie-ups with corporates and schools to help promote a healthy sustainable mentality among the young generation, thereby thrusting forward toward a changing world. This program was an instant hit. From 30 schools 3 years ago, they now have 170 schools taking part in the program – collecting more than 3 million plastic bottles.

DGrade has been honored with a number of awards:

  • TIP Envirotech Award for Single Use Plastic Innovation 2020 (Winner)

  • MEWAR 2019 Personality of the Year - Kris Barber (Shortlisted)

  • Think Beyond Plastic “Most innovative business 2013” presented by the Plastic Coalition U.S.A San Francisco June 2013 (Winner)

  • SME Middle East “Green Business of the Year 2012 (Winner)

The world is facing a plastic crisis and it is a serious issue of global concern and needs immediate response at varying levels. PET plastic bottles are the most recycled plastics, however, it is a horrifying truth that only 9% of the plastic produced worldwide is recycled and 12% incinerated; while the other lot remains unrecycled and goes to landfills or is dumped into the oceans. Plastics take 500-1000 years to degrade and are a major cause of environmental damage. Every year 100 million marine animals die due to plastic waste alone. With environmentalists urging for an eco-friendly world, various startups and organizations are taking steps to help mold it into reality. DGrade is just one of those eco-friendly organizations that seek to provide a green, clean solution to help curb the problem of plastic waste.


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