A Dutch artist and entrepreneur based in the Netherlands, Essaïdi has found a way to turn the cellulose in cow manure into a biodegradable fabric called Mestic. And her discovery has caught the eye of fast-fashion retailer H&M, who awarded her a prize of 150,000 euros in their second annual Global Change Awards earlier this month.
Affectionately dubbed “Manure Couture,” the process of getting from poop to pants is complicated but promising. The first step involves separating the dry and wet components of the manure (the wet part is urine), and then extracting the pure cellulose (i.e. grass) from the dry part. That is then mixed with acids taken from the wet portion and transformed into cellulose acetate (a natural plastic).
From there, it can be turned into a number of different materials, including bio-textiles and plastics. In essence, as Essaïdi points out, everything in the world that is plastic could be replaced with this bio-plastic made from manure.