A few years ago a heard an amazing story and so wanted it to be true! I mentioned it today on an OU forum and now have a link to the full story: http://www.iehn.org/publications.case.rohner.php
A commercial furniture provider wanted to develop a "more environmentally responsible fabric." They hired a design guru in the form of Bill McDonough and worked with Rohner Textil AG to produce it.
I find the story incredibly inspiring, not willing to settle for options that would have improved the situation, they kept pushing the boundaries of what was possible until they had radically transformed the entire production process. McDonough is quoted writing: “The team decided to design a fabric that would be safe enough to eat,”
They eliminated dangerous chemicals from the production process ending up using only 16 "that they deemed safe and appropriate, and from those completed the entire fabric line."
Amazingly for a company that was paying heavily for producing dangerous waste product and water, once the changes in the design process were implemented, the factory was able to sell the now useful waste product and regulators found waste water from the factory was cleaner than that going in!
You can find the companies website here: http://www.climatex.com
What if we all made this sort of improvements in our lives and workplaces!