Kingfisher: When clothes are recycled into Metisse Insulation

Since 2015, Castorama France has been selling Métisse insulation – a plain looking product, with a big sustainability story. Made from old junk clothes and made by Le Relais, a social enterprise, they are not only great for the planet but also very popular with customers. Over the past year, a new communications campaign has raised the profile of Métisse for Castorama customers across France.

We caught up with Antoine Moyaux, Building Manager, and Céline Grass, Castorama’s Brand Manager to find out more.

What is the big problem with isolating Métisse, and why is it good for the planet?

A.m: Métisse is a great product in many ways. For customers, it is high quality and easy to use. It gives you the same thermal and acoustic performance as traditional mineral wool, and is highly sensitive and made with fewer chemicals. Métisse insulation is extremely safe, easy to install and long lasting.

For the environment, it’s a real superstar. It’s made from old, unwanted clothes that Le Relais collects from clothing banks all over France. Any clothing that cannot be resold is used for insulation. Currently only 18% of clothes and shoes in France are recycled – so without Le Relais, these clothes would likely end up in landfill or incinerated.

Le Relais is a social enterprise that employs about 150 people who were unemployed or disadvantaged. She has helped many people find work and reinvest any profits in her organization.

And what about work?

CG: We are the sole distributor of Métisse which is the best selling product in our insulation category. We sell Métisse in about 90 stores and aim to increase our sales and make it available in more stores.

We launched a major campaign in 2021 through our stores, online and on social media to raise awareness of this great product and our partnership with Le Relais. We also encouraged customers to recycle old jeans, and added 50% more Le Relais clothing banks in our stores to help them do so. It’s a great story that makes us feel good about our work.

Could this approach work in other banners?

A.m: We are seeing a lot of innovative insulation products coming to market that use more natural and sustainable materials. There is some great potential for all streamers to explore.

The Metisse insulation product from Le Relais has been so successful that it has reached its full production capacity and cannot increase the volume it produces. We are working with a large insulation company, to see if they can develop a more circular product that will help us meet the high customer demand.

What advice would you give someone starting a project like this?

CG: The partnership with Le Relais was the key to success at Métisse because it is a well-known organization in France. Finding the right partner to work with is crucial. Also, don’t forget to keep telling people about it! Communication is very important to get all the benefits of the work you do.

What are you most proud of?

A.m: We are very proud to work with Le Relais. We would love to be able to tell our customers about this partnership and the benefits of Métisse.

CG: And we were really pleased with the effect of our campaign: more customers than ever before turned in their old clothes for recycling.

Did you know?

  • Métisse insulation is highly sensitive, made with fewer chemicals, and is long-lasting.

  • Insulation is the most effective way to improve energy efficiency at home

  • Insulation makes your home more comfortable by helping maintain a uniform temperature

  • As energy is used less for heating or cooling, it saves non-renewable resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions

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