The finishing flourish to your Newt shirt
The vast majority of buttons used on shirts today are still made from virgin plastic (new plastic, not recycled). Virgin plastic buttons are the easiest to source, and by far the cheapest option. Given how much consideration we gave to our choice of fabric for our first collection of shirts, we didn't want to compromise on the second key component of a Newt shirt.
We were determined to find a material for the buttons on our shirts that was not virgin plastic. After lots of research, we whittled our options down to recycled plastic buttons, or from buttons made from Corozo nuts. After much consideration we decided to go for Corozo.
We settled on Corozo nut buttons because they perfectly balance the aesthetic and sustainability attributes we were looking for.
6 reasons why we love Corozo nut buttons
THEY ARE A RENEWABLE SOURCE
Corozo nuts fall naturally from Tagua palm trees, mainly in the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest. Once a Tagua palm has reached maturity, it continuously produces about 15 'mococha' a year, each of which contains 20 different compartments, which in turn contain about 6 nuts - a total of around 1800 nuts a year. This means that each of these palm trees naturally produces enough fruit to create thousands of Corozo nut buttons every year.
The nuts fall naturally from the tree, and no harvesting process is involved.
THEY ARE PROTECTING THE RAINFOREST
Corozo nuts play a hugely import role in the local economy of the rainforest communities in Ecuador. Corozo production is much more lucrative than banana plantations and cattle ranches, both of which are also harmful to the natural habitat of the rainforest. Corozo nut, on the other hand, is a naturally occurring tree species in the forest, that also happens to be extremely valuable. This combination means that as long as demand for Corozo is maintained, the trees are more protected from deforestation.
It's one of the few places in the world where money does kind of grow on (and fall from) trees.
THEY ARE COMPLETELY RENEWABLE
As long as the Tagua palms stay standing, they will continue to bear fruit. The trees require no special treatment, and are growing entirely naturally as part of the flora of the rainforest. As most Tagua palms live for over one hundred years, these trees will continue to produce Corozo nuts for years to come.
THEY ARE BIODEGRADABLE
As a natural material, Corozo nut buttons will biodegrade once disposed of. If left in a compost heap, they will eventually biodegrade over a few months, meaning no trace of the button will be left.
THEY HAVE A BEAUTIFUL NATURAL GRAIN
If you look closely, you'll see that each Corozo nut button has its own unique markings. From afar, the buttons all look like a uniform, block colour, but up close, each has its only little story to tell.
THEY ARE EXTREMELY DURABLE
Corozo nuts are often referred to as 'vegetable ivory', and for good reason, because they are extremely hard-wearing and have a very smooth finish. They are also very scratch resistant.