Corozo buttons are quickly becoming a popular choice for the fashion and clothing industry as a sustainable solution to the environmental concerns associated with plastic and metal buttons. These buttons are made from the nut of the tagua palm tree, which is native to the tropical rainforests of South America, particularly Ecuador.
What is Corozo and where does it come from?
The tagua palm tree produces a fruit that resembles a small coconut, and inside this fruit, there are several seeds that are similar in size and texture to ivory. These seeds are often referred to as vegetable ivory because of their similarity to animal ivory, but they are an eco-friendly and ethical alternative.
How are Corozo buttons made?
The process of creating Corozo buttons begins with the collection of the tagua nuts. Harvesting the nuts in a sustainable way is crucial to ensure the long-term viability of the tagua palm tree species. The nuts are harvested once they have fallen from the tree naturally, and the collection is done by local communities who have been trained in sustainable harvesting techniques.
Once the nuts have been harvested, they are left to dry in the sun for several months. During this time, the outer layer of the nut dries and falls off, revealing the inner seed. The seeds are then sorted by size and quality, and they are cut into slices. These slices are then boiled in water to soften them, and they are then left to dry in the sun again.
After the slices have dried, they are polished to give them a smooth finish, and they are then dyed to create a range of colors. The dye used for Corozo buttons is a natural, plant-based dye that is non-toxic and environmentally friendly. The dyeing process is done in small batches to ensure that the color is consistent across all the buttons.
Corozo is a sustainable solution for the clothing and fashion industry
Corozo buttons are not only sustainable, but they are also highly durable and long-lasting. They are resistant to heat, moisture, and impact, which makes them perfect for use in clothing and accessories. They are also lightweight, which makes them comfortable to wear and easy to transport.
One of the key advantages of using Corozo buttons is that they are biodegradable. Unlike plastic and metal buttons, which can take hundreds of years to decompose, Corozo buttons will decompose naturally over time. This means that they do not contribute to the pollution of our oceans and landfills, and they have a minimal impact on the environment.
Another advantage of using Corozo buttons is that they are ethical. The harvesting and production of Corozo buttons provide employment opportunities for local communities, and the harvesting is done in a sustainable way that does not harm the environment or the tagua palm tree species.
In addition to their environmental and ethical benefits, Corozo buttons are also aesthetically pleasing. They have a natural, organic look that complements a range of clothing styles and designs. They also have a unique texture and feel that adds a touch of luxury to any garment or accessory.
Why Onsloe supports Corozo producers like TRAFINO S.A.
Corozo has a wonderful story behind, the kind of material that brands and consumers are looking for today to reduce the carbon footprint of the fashion industry while promoting the conservation of tropical forests and their biodiversity. Corozo is a planet-friendly, natural alternative to synthetic buttons or other natural buttons that are harmful to the environment.
By using Corozo buttons, Onsloe directly contributes to defending tropical forests and their biodiversity, allowing thousands of native inhabitants to make a living from collecting Corozo nuts without destroying the forests. It also represents an important source of income for hundreds of artisans, a large set of which are women, who skillfully transform the Corozo nuts into blanks one by one. TRAFINO, the world leader in the production and export of Corozo, obtains blanks from artisans, performs quality controls, and exports the raw material to button makers around the world.
About TRAFINO S.A. and FOREVER LUNG
With 33 years of experience, TRAFINO S.A. is the world leader in the export of corozo blanks, raw material for the production of corozo buttons. Based in Ecuador, the only country in the world producing and exporting this product.
TRAFINO created the FOREVER LUNG, a non-profit organization (NGO) to protect tropical forests where Corozo palms grow wild by working together with the local communities and artisans of Ecuador. The Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment awarded TRAFINO the “Green Initiative Prize” for promoting the conservation of the rainforest through the sustainable management of Corozo and is in the process of obtaining the FAIRWILD certification (https://www.fairwild.org/).
TRAFINO and FOREVER LUNG are working with local universities in the research and planning of a project to restore the buffer zones of tropical forests using native Corozo palms and thus help the forest to recover and regain space.
Here are some beneficial characteristics of the Corozo (tagua) palm tree:
- Corozo palms have multiple biological interactions with pollinating insects — thousands arrive during flowering time — as well as with wild forest animals, mainly rodents and small mammals.
- Corozo palms are an abundant and often dominant species in the structure of the tropical forest. For this reason, by protecting Corozo palms, they conserve the entire forest and its interactions.
- Due to the high production of organic matter (big leaves, inflorescences, and large infructescence), Corozo palms have a high rate of carbon fixation.
- Corozo palms prevent erosion and contribute to soil formation.
- Corozo palms promote the “milking of clouds,” maintaining humidity in forests.
- Corozo is an important cultural element in the identity of Ecuadorians.
Additionally, TRAFINO is working with The United Nations Small Grants Program, The German Cooperation (GIZ), the IRD (French Institute of Research for Development), government institutions, and other NGOs to strengthen and support Corozo-collecting communities, protect tropical forests, and take care of Corozo palm tree species. TRAFINO is also a member of the HOTPALM project http://bioinca.org/hotpalm-project/
Corozo is not only the best sustainable alternative for the fashion and clothing industry in terms of design but also has a beneficial environmental and social component. By replacing plastic with Corozo buttons, brands contribute to keeping tropical forests standing, reducing the carbon footprint of the fashion industry, and curbing global warming. In addition to being a durable and resistant material, Corozo contributes to circularity.