Mjuktong: material made with egg cartons and waste fabric

In an attempt to tackle textile waste, Milan-based designer Xiaohui Li developed a mouldable material called Mjuktong, made from textile waste and egg cartons.

In the European Union, the amount of textile waste is estimated to be 5.8 million tons annually, most of which ends up on landfills or is incinerated. Li’s project aimed to create a DIY material made from fabric waste.

“In this self-production process, the border of the role of designers and producers are weakened, so that designers can control the production process to a greater extent, thus narrowing the gap between design and products,” Li says.

The name Mjuktong combines the Swedish words for ‘soft’ and ‘concrete’. The material is made by first shredding the fabric and egg cartons, another waste product, into small pieces. The carton is dissolved in water to create pulp. The pulp and fabric are then mixed and poured into a mould. When dried, a lightweight, soft, and compressible material is formed.

Mjuktong could be used to make furniture, or as insulation. For further applications, Li still needs to test the material’s mechanical properties.

Photos: Xiaohui Li