Sustainability and Polyester

We've transformed our production processes to be more environmentally friendly.

This commitment, often referred to as "green manufacturing," means we use fewer resources, reduce waste and pollution, and recycle or reuse materials whenever possible.

These practices extend to our canvas production, which is proudly based in South Africa.

By manufacturing locally, we significantly reduce the environmental impact of transporting materials long distances.

Our Polyester manufacturer has the following "Green manufacturing" practices in play:

Reducing Our Water Footprint Through Closed-Loop Reticulation

Recognizing the increasing scarcity of water in Sub-Saharan Africa due to climate change, the manufacturing plant prioritizes water-wise practices as a cornerstone of its green manufacturing initiatives.

During the wet processing stage of textile production, the manufacturing plant has implemented a closed-loop water reticulation system.

This innovative system allows for the reuse of 30-40% of the process water.

This significantly reduces overall water consumption and, even more importantly, minimizes the amount of wastewater generated.

By reusing water, the manufacturing plant:

  • Conserves this vital resource for future generations.
  • Reduces the environmental impact of textile manufacturing.

Energy-Efficient Heating with Heat Recovery

The processing and manufacture of technical textiles generate significant amounts of waste heat.

Traditionally, this heat would be expelled into the atmosphere, contributing to energy waste and environmental warming.

The manufacturing plant has implemented a closed-loop heat exchanger system to address this challenge.

This innovative system captures waste heat from the hot air and transfers it to water needed for other manufacturing processes.

The heat exchanger effectively raises water temperature from room temperature to 60°C, significantly reducing the energy required for heating elsewhere in the plant.

By recovering waste heat, the manufacturing plant:

  • Reduces its overall energy consumption.
  • Minimizes its environmental impact by lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Promotes energy efficiency within the production processes.

Minimizing Waste Through Repurposing and Recycling

The weaving process inevitably generates polyester offcuts and waste. Traditionally, this waste would be landfilled. The manufacturing plant, however, has taken a proactive approach by partnering with various organizations specializing in waste repurposing and recycling.

  • Recycling into New Fibers: A significant portion of the polyester waste is recycled back into fibers. This recycled material is then processed into non-woven fabrics, reducing reliance on virgin polyester.
  • Creative Upcycling Initiatives: The manufacturing plant also collaborates with creative partners who repurpose waste into valuable products. Examples include school bags, beds for the homeless, and hand-woven rugs.
  • Local Repurposing: All remaining offcuts are repurposed by local vendors who transform them into various products like bags and even traditional artwork. This not only minimizes landfill waste but also empowers local businesses.

The plant's commitment to waste reduction goes beyond these examples. They continuously seek innovative ways to further minimize waste generation and maximize resource utilization throughout the production process.

Prioritizing Sustainable Materials

The textile industry has a history of using some harmful raw materials. The manufacturing plant recognizes this and takes a critical approach to material selection. Every raw material is evaluated for its environmental and human health impact. The plant prioritizes selecting the most environmentally friendly options while ensuring product efficacy remains uncompromised.

Here are some examples of the plant's success in sustainable material selection:

  • Elimination of Chlorinated Materials: The plant has successfully removed chlorinated raw materials from its acrylic coatings.
  • Greener Surfactants: They have replaced harmful APEOs (alkylphenol ethoxylates) with more eco-friendly surfactants.
  • Safer Fluorocarbon Technology: A shift has been made towards safer C6 fluorocarbon technology, ultimately aiming for complete replacement with fluoro-free dendritic polymers.

This commitment to using sustainable raw materials demonstrates the plant's dedication to responsible manufacturing and minimizing its environmental footprint.


In light of the comprehensive analysis we've shared, it becomes evident that the decision between polyester and natural fiber canvases is not just about comparing immediate benefits but involves a deeper understanding of their environmental implications over time.

At ACF, we are committed to embracing practices that not only foster the sustainability of our planet but also ensure the enduring legacy of the art created on our canvases.

We understand that the art world's shift towards more eco-friendly materials is a nuanced journey, involving considerations of water use, energy consumption, emissions, and the lifecycle of products.

While natural fibers bring the advantage of biodegradability and possibly lower emissions during their cultivation and processing, the superior durability, recyclability, and potential for polyester to be transformed into new materials make a compelling argument for its environmental efficiency and contribution to the longevity of art.

Our mission at ACF is to continuously strive for greener solutions, recognizing that true sustainability encompasses the entire lifecycle of a product — from its creation to its eventual repurposing.

We believe in empowering artists and consumers with the knowledge to make choices that reflect both their environmental convictions and their aspirations for their art's lasting impact.

Through embracing advancements in sustainable manufacturing and exploring the full potential of recycling, ACF stands at the forefront of combining ecological responsibility with the preservation of artistic heritage, ensuring that our contributions to the art world are as enduring as the magnificent works created by the artists we serve.