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Say Goodbye to Microplastics: The Rise of Natural Webbing, with color.

Key Takeaways

  • Natural Materials Unlimited now offers high-quality colored hemp webbing.
  • The new webbing is produced through a batch dyeing process, allowing for small minimum order quantities.
  • The NMU’s mission is to reduce microplastics and promote sustainable alternatives to synthetic materials.

Introduction

Natural Materials Unlimited, established in 2015, is a pioneer in crafting high-quality products & accessories from natural materials. We have been at the forefront of producing natural webbing products, specializing in dog, music, and sports accessories. Today, we are thrilled to announce a significant milestone in our journey—the launch of our new colored webbing. THis webbing is available in any color and from widths up to 75mm wide, coming in 50 meter spools. This development not only enhances the versatility of our products but also reaffirms our commitment to sustainability and quality.

The introduction of colored webbing opens up a myriad of possibilities for our customers. By offering unlimited color options we cater to diverse needs and preferences while maintaining the eco-friendly nature of our products. We started with black and will have classic blue, red, and pink to start, but we can do any color for you. This advancement is crucial as it combines aesthetic appeal with the environmental benefits of natural materials, setting a new standard in the industry.

History and Background

Natural Materials Unlimited was established in 2015, initially starting as a yarn waxing company. Our journey began with a focus on providing high quality waxed yarns through our specialized waxing technique. As we gained expertise in this area, we quickly expanded our operations to include the procurement of natural materials and the manufacturing of a diverse range of products. Our portfolio grew to encompass products made from woven and knitted textiles, yarns, ropes, webbing, paper, leather, and more.

Early on, our primary focus was on using natural webbing. This material formed the backbone of our product offerings, particularly for dog, music, and sports accessories. However, the road to achieving consistently high-quality natural webbing was fraught with challenges. One of the significant hurdles was the limited availability of producers specializing in natural webbing within the European Union. Most webbing produced in the region was synthetic, which did not align with our commitment to sustainability and natural materials.

Furthermore, the natural webbing we did find often suffered from quality issues. Inconsistencies in the yarn and weaving process meant that we had to order extra quantities to account for defects, significantly increasing our costs. For longer products like guitar straps and leashes, which require flawless webbing, this issue was particularly problematic. The need to inspect and cut out defective sections added to our operational complexities and expenses.

Despite these challenges, our dedication to quality and sustainability remained unwavering. We embarked on an extensive search across Europe and Asia, evaluating countless samples and working tirelessly to find the right partners and materials. This relentless pursuit of excellence has led us to where we are today, ready to unveil our new line of colored webbing that meets our high standards and opens up exciting new possibilities for our customers.

Challenges in Finding Quality Natural Webbing

Producing high-quality natural webbing presented significant challenges, primarily due to issues with market quality, a lack of producers in the European Union, and persistent problems with quality control. These obstacles required substantial extra investment and a dedicated effort to overcome.

The first major issue was the market quality of natural webbing. Natural webbing producers are few and far between, and the options available often fell short of our standards. The webbing we found was riddled with defects, this was mostly do to weft yarns breaking and not being properly spliced during production, resulting in frequent weaving mistakes, just a few per 50 meters if at all, but still… These quality issues made it difficult to ensure that our products, which require flawless materials, could meet my expectations. I was actually “fired” in 2020 from a supplier for having “too good of quality control standards”. That was their excuse for poor management. 

The scarcity of natural webbing producers in the European Union compounded these problems. Most webbing manufacturers in the region focus on synthetic materials, which are more widely used in various industries due to their durability and lower cost. However, synthetic webbing does not align with our commitment to sustainability and reducing environmental impact. The limited number of natural webbing producers meant that we had fewer options to choose from, often resulting in a compromise on quality.

As mentioned, quality control was a significant challenge. To compensate for the high defect rate in available natural webbing, we had to order at least 10% more material than required for our projects. This surplus was necessary to account for the portions of webbing that would inevitably need to be discarded due to defects. This practice not only increased our material costs but also introduced additional steps in our production process, such as inspecting and cutting out flawed sections. For products requiring long, continuous lengths of webbing, like guitar straps and leashes, this process was especially costly and time-consuming.

Actually with the widths used for dog accessories the problem was less impactful because we would use the shorter cuts for making dog collars, reducing waste.

The need for extra investment didn’t stop at material costs. Ensuring the high quality of our final products required significant financial resources. We had to invest in thorough quality control processes and additional manpower to inspect and handle the webbing. Furthermore, finding reliable partners for weaving and dyeing the yarns involved a lot of trial and error, adding to the overall expenditure and effort.

In our relentless pursuit of excellence, we explored every possible avenue to find the right solutions. We reached out to producers across Europe and Asia, tested countless samples, and even considered investing in our own production equipment. Each step of the journey was a learning experience that brought us closer to our goal of offering high-quality, natural-colored webbing. Today, we are proud to say that our hard work has paid off, allowing us to provide a product that meets our high standards and supports our mission of sustainability.

Journey to Find the Right Webbing

The journey to find the right webbing was an extensive and challenging process that took us across Europe and Asia. Our goal was to source high-quality natural webbing that met our strict standards for durability, consistency, and sustainability. However, achieving this goal required navigating numerous obstacles and setbacks.

Our search began in Europe, where we hoped to find local producers who shared our commitment to quality and sustainability. Unfortunately, the market for natural webbing in Europe is limited, with most manufacturers focusing on synthetic materials. Many of these producers wanted 20,000 to 100,000 meter minimums, a huge investment for a small company.

Despite contacting numerous suppliers, the samples we received often were very good, but the production webbing fell short of our expectations. It was as if the samples were carefully selected and the rolls of webbing were not. As mentioned the issue of warping the yarn and splicing weft threads properly was creating problems for quality. This made them unsuitable for our purposes, particularly for products like guitar straps and leashes that require flawless, durable webbing. Each disappointing result reinforced the importance of finding the right partner who could deliver consistent, high-quality natural webbing.

Compounding these difficulties was the constraint of acquiring the necessary production equipment, such as needle looms. Needle looms are essential for producing fabric tape or webbing, but they represent a significant investment. At that stage in our development, purchasing this equipment was not feasible, which limited our ability to produce our own webbing in-house. Additionally we learned that vintage equipment made in Asia was making natural webbing that was farm supplier to the modern machines build in Europe. 

Despite these setbacks, our commitment to finding the right webbing never wavered. We continued to test samples and refine our criteria, learning valuable lessons along the way. Each sample, whether successful or not, provided insights that helped us better understand the market and what we needed from a supplier. Our persistence eventually paid off when we found partners who could meet our standards for quality and consistency.

Through this arduous journey, we developed a deeper appreciation for the complexities of producing high-quality natural webbing. It also strengthened our resolve to provide our customers with the best possible products. Today, we are proud to offer colored webbing that reflects the hard work and dedication we invested in finding the right materials and partners. This achievement not only enhances our product line but also supports our mission of promoting sustainable, eco-friendly materials.

The Breakthrough: Colored Webbing

For a long time we were actually hand dyeing webbing. I taught myself all about plant-based natural dyeing. I was making my black webbing from an ancient technique involving acorns, seriously, not a joke. The tannins in acorns reacts with iron in the water and it results in black, it’s really wild to watch. However, when we moved facilities we lost the ability to do small batch dyeing. In the photo below you can see some hand dye results from acorn and brazil wood.

hemp beanies natural dye

After years of extensive research and development, we are thrilled to announce the breakthrough in our product line: colored webbing. This significant advancement opens up new possibilities for our customers and reinforces our commitment to quality and sustainability. The development of our new colored webbing involved meticulous planning and execution, resulting in a product that meets our high standards and caters to a diverse range of applications. No longer do we have a minimum of 5000 meters of webbing to produce colors. 

Development and Capabilities

The key to our success in producing colored webbing lies in the batch dyeing process we have perfected. This process involves dyeing 25 kg batches of hemp yarn before warping and weaving them into webbing. By dyeing the yarns in batches, we can ensure that each batch is consistently colored, leading to a uniform appearance in the final product. This method also allows us to maintain high-quality standards throughout the production process.

Our initial offerings in colored webbing is only black for now, but we also have natural. These classic colors provide a versatile foundation for various applications. However, we are not stopping there. We are excited to soon introduce additional colors, including classic blue, red, and pink. These vibrant hues will add a new dimension to our product line, allowing customers to choose webbing that suits their specific needs and preferences. We can produce any color for you with widths up to 75mm.

Advantages of the New Webbing

One of the standout advantages of our new colored webbing is the ability to produce low minimum order quantities. Unlike many industry standards that require orders of 20,000 to 100,000 meters per color, per size, our batch dyeing process allows us to fulfill much smaller orders. This flexibility is particularly beneficial for small businesses and custom projects that do not require large quantities of webbing. It also enables us to offer a wider variety of colors and sizes without the need for massive production runs.

The quality of our yarn is another significant advantage. By using high-quality hemp yarn, we can ensure that our webbing is consistent and free from the defects commonly found in lower-quality alternatives. This results in fewer mistakes per meter, reducing waste and ensuring that our customers receive a product they can rely on. The high-quality yarn also contributes to the durability and strength of the webbing, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.

The benefits of our colored webbing extend beyond its immediate applications. By choosing our products, customers are supporting sustainable practices and reducing their environmental impact. Our commitment to using natural materials means that our webbing is free from harmful microplastics, contributing to a healthier planet.

The introduction of our colored webbing represents a significant step forward for Natural Materials Unlimited. Through careful development and the use of high-quality materials, we have created a product that meets the needs of a wide range of industries while promoting sustainability. We are excited to continue expanding our color options and look forward to seeing how our customers will use this versatile and eco-friendly webbing in their projects.

This is a stack of Natural Webbing

Environmental Impact and Mission

At Natural Materials Unlimited, our mission has always been rooted in sustainability and environmental stewardship. One of our primary commitments is to reduce the proliferation of microplastics, which are a significant environmental concern.

Synthetic Webbing vs. Natural Webbing

Synthetic webbing, typically made from materials like polyester and nylon, is widely used due to its strength and durability. However, it comes with a substantial environmental cost. Synthetic fibers contribute to the growing problem of microplastics—tiny plastic particles that pollute our oceans and ecosystems. These microplastics are shed during the production, use, and disposal of synthetic webbing, posing a threat to marine life and, ultimately, human health.

Microplastics in Synthetic Webbing

One of the most glaring issues with synthetic webbing is the phenomenon of “one way webbing” in the shipping industry. This refers to the practice of discarding webbing after a single use. When synthetic webbing arrives at ports, it is often thrown away rather than reused or recycled. Given that the majority of polyester and other synthetic fibers are not biodegradable, this practice significantly contributes to plastic pollution. The discarded webbing breaks down into microplastics, which then enter our water systems and food chains.

Sustainability of the Production Process

In contrast, our natural webbing offers an eco-friendly alternative. We use high-quality hemp yarns known for their natural and sustainable properties. Hemp is a renewable resource that requires minimal pesticides and water compared to other crops. Moreover, it is biodegradable, meaning that when our hemp webbing reaches the end of its life cycle, it will break down naturally without leaving behind harmful microplastics.

Our production process is designed to be as sustainable as possible. By focusing on batch dyeing, we minimize waste and reduce the environmental impact associated with large-scale production runs. This method allows us to dye only the amount of yarn needed for specific orders, avoiding the excess dye and water waste typical in traditional dyeing processes. Additionally, the high quality of our yarns ensures durability and longevity, further reducing the need for frequent replacements and thus minimizing waste.

Natural Sustainable Qualities of Hemp Yarns

The natural qualities of hemp yarn make it an ideal choice for our webbing. Hemp is not only strong and durable but also resistant to mold and ultraviolet light, enhancing the longevity of our products. Its rapid growth cycle and low environmental footprint make it one of the most sustainable fibers available. By choosing hemp, we support agricultural practices that are better for the planet and promote a shift away from reliance on synthetic, petroleum-based materials.

Our commitment to reducing microplastics and promoting sustainability is at the heart of everything we do at Natural Materials Unlimited. Through the use of natural hemp yarn and eco-friendly production processes, we strive to provide high-quality, durable webbing that benefits both our customers and the environment. As we continue to innovate and expand our product line, we remain dedicated to creating solutions that support a healthier, more sustainable future.

20 Uses for Natural Webbing

Natural webbing is a versatile and eco-friendly material that can be used in a wide range of products across various industries. Here are 20 potential applications, each explained in more detail:

  1. Dog Stuff: Strong, durable dog products like: leashes of varying lengths, collars, hardnesses and more.
  2. Guitar Straps: Comfortable and adjustable straps for guitars and other musical instruments. Providing support and stability for musicians, ensuring ease of use during performances and practice sessions.
  3. Clothing Accessories: Belts, suspenders, and bag straps. Adding style and functionality to fashion items, offering sustainable alternatives to synthetic accessories.
  4. Eco-Friendly Bags: Handles and straps for tote bags, backpacks, and messenger bags. Providing sturdy, comfortable carrying options for everyday use, promoting sustainability with biodegradable materials.
  5. Furniture Straps: Straps for securing cushions, slipcovers, or holding parts together. Webbing can also be used as a hinge or woven to make a base for a cushion. Ensuring stability and enhancing the functionality of furniture pieces, especially in modular or movable designs.
  6. Outdoor Gear: Straps for backpacks, sleeping bags, and camping equipment. Offering reliable support and ease of use in outdoor activities, withstanding the elements and reducing environmental impact.
  7. Craft Projects: Materials for making DIY items like bracelets, keychains, and wall hangings. Providing a versatile, easy-to-use material for hobbyists and crafters, encouraging creativity with sustainable resources.
  8. Interior Design Elements: Decorative straps for curtains, blinds, and wall hangings. Adding a rustic or natural touch to home decor, supporting eco-friendly design choices.
  9. Baby Carriers: Straps and harnesses for baby slings and carriers. Offering safety and comfort for carrying infants, made from gentle, non-toxic materials that are safe for babies.
  10. Yoga Straps: Stretching and support straps for yoga and Pilates. Assisting in maintaining poses and deepening stretches, providing non-slip, durable support for fitness enthusiasts. This is a personal favorite!
  11. Luggage Straps: Straps for securing luggage, tags, and handles. Ensuring travel bags are securely fastened and easy to carry, withstanding the rigors of travel.
  12. Tent Straps: Straps for securing tent poles, stakes, and tarps. Offering reliable and durable support for camping and outdoor shelter, ensuring tents remain stable in various conditions.
  13. Hammocks: Hanging straps and supports for hammocks. Providing strong and reliable suspension for hammocks, ensuring safety and comfort for relaxation in natural settings.
  14. Bicycle Accessories: Straps for securing gear, saddle bags, and baskets. Enhancing bicycle functionality by securely holding accessories and ensuring a smoother ride.
  15. Garden Tools: Straps for securing plants, holding tools, and garden furniture. Tying plants to stakes (hemp wick is better), hanging tools for easy access, and securing garden furniture, promoting an organized and efficient gardening environment.
  16. Belts: Fashionable and functional belts (or suspenders) for various uses. Adding style and practicality to outfits, offering an eco-friendly alternative to synthetic belts.
  17. Industrial Uses (Where Appropriate): Straps for packaging, securing goods, and machinery. Providing strong and reliable support for industrial applications, such as bundling items, securing cargo, or holding equipment, while promoting sustainability in industrial processes.

Natural webbing’s versatility and sustainability make it an excellent choice for a wide array of products. By integrating natural webbing into these applications, we can reduce our reliance on synthetic materials and their associated environmental impacts, paving the way for a more sustainable future.

Check out our webbing.

We invite you to explore the exciting possibilities of our new colored webbing. At Natural Materials Unlimited, we pride ourselves on offering high-quality, sustainable products that meet the diverse needs of our customers. Our newly developed colored webbing is available in a range of vibrant hues, including black, classic blue, red, pink, and the natural hemp shade, providing you with versatile options for your projects.

One of the key advantages of our webbing is the extensive customization options we offer. You can choose from various sizes, including 20mm, 25mm, 30mm, 40mm, and 50mm widths, tailored to your specific requirements. Additionally, we provide multiple weaving patterns, allowing you to select the perfect texture and strength for your application. This flexibility ensures that our webbing can be seamlessly integrated into a wide range of products, from pet accessories and fashion items to industrial uses and outdoor gear.

We encourage you to contact us for samples or to place orders. Our team is ready to assist you in finding the best solutions for your needs. Whether you are looking for small quantities for a niche project or larger volumes for mass production, we can accommodate your requirements with our batch dyeing process, which allows for low minimum order quantities without compromising on quality.

Beyond providing high-quality materials, we are eager to collaborate and innovate with our partners. If you have unique ideas or specific needs, we would love to work with you to bring them to life. Our commitment to sustainability and excellence drives us to continually seek new ways to enhance our products and services.

Reach out to us today to learn more about our colored webbing and discover how we can support your projects. Together, we can create innovative, eco-friendly solutions that make a positive impact on both your business and the environment. Contact us now to start your journey with Natural Materials Unlimited.

In Summary

Natural Materials Unlimited is proud to introduce our new line of colored webbing, marking a significant step forward in our commitment to sustainability and quality. This innovative product offers vibrant color options such as black, classic blue, red, pink, and natural, broadening the scope of applications for our eco-friendly webbing. The flexibility in sizes and weaving patterns ensures that our webbing can meet diverse customer needs while maintaining the high standards we are known for.

Looking ahead, our vision is to continue expanding our product offerings and pushing the boundaries of sustainable materials. We aim to become the go-to source for high-quality, natural webbing, fostering a culture of innovation and environmental responsibility. Our focus remains on reducing microplastics and promoting the use of renewable resources in various industries.

We invite you to explore the potential of our colored webbing and join us in our mission to create a more sustainable future. Whether you need customized solutions or are interested in collaborating on new projects, our team is ready to assist you. Contact us today to learn more about our products, request samples, or place an order. Together, we can make a difference with high-quality, eco-friendly webbing. Reach out to us at sales@naturalmaterials.eu to start your journey with Natural Materials Unlimited.


Keywords used in the article: Natural Materials Unlimited, colored webbing, hemp webbing, batch dyeing, high-quality yarn, sustainability, microplastics, eco-friendly, natural webbing, custom webbing, environmental impact, synthetic webbing, natural materials, versatile applications, premium webbing.

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