Meet Jalila Essaïdi, a Dutch designer who works with modern technology to shine light on topics that are extremely relevant in today's society. Essaïdi uses a collaborative approach in her projects and looks at social, political, economic and environmental factors to create solutions and new ideas.
With many awards under her belt and even more member plaques in international councils, it is Essaïdi's BioArt approach that makes her really unique.
Why, you may wonder? Well, let's simply say... you've never seen cow poop being used like this.
Cow dung – the next frontier in haute couture?
When you think of clothing and fabrics, you probably don't think of biotechnology. You also don't think of cow manure. Well, Essaïdi has thought of that and found that it is a very interesting and sustainable option for the manufacturing industry.
Her most recent project Mestic®, which was created through her BioArt Lab Foundation, uses cow manure to create bio-textiles, bio-plastics and bio-paper.
Essaïdi's main goal for this project was to override our natural aversion to waste and show how it can be used to create something good. Mestic® generates cow manure into sustainable new materials that can be used in all areas of the manufacturing industry.
According to Essaïdi, "it's the first time that manure is being considered as a valuable resource."
The project also addresses the global manure surplus, which is responsible for the large amounts of harmful phosphorus and nitrogen in surface and ground water. Using the excess manure to create materials will create a circular economy which allows the agriculture industry to keep investing in cows and growth.
OK, but should you try this at home?
Essaïdi has found that manure is biodegradable and it performs in a similar way to plastic being derived from fossil fuels. The manure is used as both a base for the sustainable materials and as a source for the chemicals required to create it.
The matter is first separated, with the dry manure processed to extract the pure cellulose. Acids from the wet manure are extracted and used to create cellulose acetate. This is a natural liquid plastic. From this, fibres are created and turned into bio-textiles, plastics and paper.
Simple as that? No, not really.
It's actually a highly-detailed process. One that will benefit the manufacturing industry, as well as help agriculture groups stick to government regulations of manure levels.
With other projects on the go, Jalila Essaïdi is a truly impressive creative. And although there is still a lot to be solved in the manure-manufacturing field, she says the possibilities are "infinite."
Check out this video of Jalila explaining her Mestic® project in more detail: