Toile Ocean: The first book cover made from recycled ocean plastic

Winter & Company, a traditional Swiss company, is launching the first book cloth woven from recycled ocean plastic: Toile Ocean. Sustainability is a major concern for the fourth-generation family-run company. Toile Ocean is produced in collaboration with the Basel-based company tide ocean SA (#tide) and is set to revolutionise the book market.

Toile Ocean is a new material woven mainly from recycled ocean plastic. The material’s high durability offers numerous possible applications – especially for book covers, which are otherwise mostly made of paper or textile materials. The fabric can also be used as a cover material for hang tags, premium packaging, shopping bags and stationery items. As it is very durable, the material is also suitable for menu cards. It can even be sewn.

“Our goal with Toile Ocean was to create an attractive book cloth with raw materials that are not common in our industry. At the same time, we wanted a natural look and feel combined with a textile texture and convey a strong environmental message,” says Christoph Borer, CEO of Winter & Company. The product development took about 1.5 years.

1 m2 of Toile Ocean contains 5.2 PET bottles from the ocean (measured against a 0.5 litre bottle of 14 g). If Toile Ocean had been used as the cover material for volume 1 of Harry Potter, it would have bound around 75 million plastic bottles. The average run of a first book edition in Germany is about 2,000 copies, which would recycle about 1400 bottles. For every meter of Toile Ocean sold, 1 % of the turnover is donated to clean water projects.


“As a family-run company, sustainability is a major concern for Winter & Company,” says Nikolai Winter, a fourth-generation member of the board of directors. Since 1892, the company has repeatedly served the bookbinding market with exciting innovations.

As early as the 1960s, Skivertex®, a durable substitute for leather, was introduced to the European market. In the 70s, Wibalin® Buckram was launched to offer a wide range of paper covers imitating a textile for visual appeal and performance. In the 90s, Ecorel®, a more environmentally friendly alternative to PVC, was offered for the first time. Around the same time, Winter & Company launched Wintan®, a high-quality material made from recycled leather for book covers. And in recent years, the range of FSC™-certified book cloths has been steadily innovated under Toile Canvas and Toile du Marais. “With Toile Ocean, we are going one step further,” says Winter.

The aim is to appeal to brands and customers who want to make a contribution to clean oceans and inspire their customers with long-lasting products.


Winter & Company worked together with the company tide ocean SA, or #tide in the development of Toile Ocean.

“As a global company, we were looking for a partner who is specialized in the collection and recycling of ocean plastic,” says Borer. tide ocean SA has provided precisely the solution we needed in collaboration with scientists from the Swiss University of Applied Sciences in Rapperswil, has developed a solution for producing granulates and yarns from ocean plastic. The fact that the start-up #tide, founded in 2019, is also based in Basel is a happy coincidence.


#Tide collects and sorts plastic waste along the coasts of Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia. This plastic is then mechanically compressed into a granulate in an award-winning process and finally spun into a yarn. This ocean yarn serves as the weft thread for Toile Ocean. The warp thread is now made from recycled polyester (rPET). Toile Ocean is thus woven from 100 percent plastic waste.

The back of Toile Ocean is coated with water-based acryl. It was a deliberate decision not to use a paper coating in order, to keep additional resources to a minimum. This coating is necessary to give the fabric the required stability and impregnation for water/glue permeability.

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Written by Dom Thorby

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