A Dutch artist is making a fashion statement by utilizing chemistry to convert cow manure into eco-friendly couture. Ben Gruber reports.
STORY: The models in this show are all wearing cow dung. Every blouse, dress and trendy top started off as manure from a Dutch farm. The idea is the brain child of artist Jalila Essaidi, who was inspired by the fact that the Netherlands has an extreme surplus of cow manure. Essaidi is picking up the excess dung and taking into the lab. (SOUNDBITE) (English), ARTIST AND ENTREPRENEUR, JALILA ESSAIDI, SAYING: "The cow manure comes in and we take a dry fraction and a wet fraction and transform it in new materials." Transform it by breaking down the dung with chemical reactions. The resulting material can be used to make bio-paper and plastics. To make clothes -- that plastic is further refined into thread-like material. Esaiddi's goal is to build factories where farmers can bring their manure to make products ranging from plastic plates to the latest designer dress. (SOUNDBITE) (English), ARTIST AND ENTREPRENEUR, JALILA ESSAIDI, SAYING: "We are working towards the first demo plant scale-up and idea is to start in Netherlands in North Brabant and then have five places in the Netherlands where farmers can bring their manure, because for the farmers it's also difficult." …Difficult because Dutch farmers are currently paying to get rid of excess manure. Recycling the dung means a smaller carbon foot print…and a dress..to die for..