In our ‘build to last not too long and throw away’ economy, a solution is developing that sees an economy as waste free. An economy that is circular. Redesigning how we engineer and manufacture is the first step and we are very pleased to be playing a part of that.
Together with our friends at Rapanui we have designed a bag that uses waste (in our case sails) which can then be returned at the end of its useful life and broken down to be remade. The product is designed to be remade.
The circular economy is championed by Ellen MacArthur and her work with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. It is fitting that the major ingredient of our collaboration with Rapanui is one of old sails. Moreover, this is an Isle of Wight project where the Foundation, Rapanui and us are all based.
So…. The Bag was created at the Wightsails workshops with a young designer Anu Corin from Finland who was working with Rapanui as part of their Social Impact programme. The brief: find a way to use waste to design a product that can be deconstructed and design an economic model for it’s return at the end of life.
The waste: the easy bit for us is of course old sailcloth which we are constantly rescuing from landfill and looking at our own ways to create a cradle to cradle environment for sailcloth.
Rapanui also discovered another Island company Challenge and Adventure who have a mountain of foam camping mats left over each year from their charity clean up of the Isle of Wight festival camp site. And Goodyears outdoors, another Island Business that is most awesome, reckons that old army canvas is surplus even to his store of army surplus.
The Bag was created, made from sailcloth, old army tents and disposed of camping sleeping mats.
Economic returns model.
Something we have been working on is how to complete our process. It is all fair and well sending out windbreaks and beach bags made from recycled sails, but this is still only half the job. What happens when these products reach the end of their lives? We have thus established a scheme whereby we will pay you to return your product at the end of its life. Rapanui have inspired us with a similar program. Read more.
Design to be Remade.
The Bag is easy to be broken down. Parts can be salvaged and made into a new one with any broken parts going back into normal plastic recycling waste streams. Repairs where necessary can be made to prolong life.
We loved working with Rapanui and it just goes to show what companies with vision and enthusiasm can achieve when working together. Rapanui wrote the following and we liked it so have just repeated:
Is this the circular economy then? ‘… Maybe not quite the grand visions of The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which is already working with international supply chains to make a difference on a global scale. But still, this micro supply chain looks and feels a lot like a circular economy.
One unexpected outcome has become equally important: Designing products in this way creates a really cool feeling like you know the item, and care about it a lot more since it’s designed to come back to us at the end of its life. Each one that goes out is like sending off a child for a first day at school, a backpack disappearing from sight. Good bye, good luck, we’ll see you again soon.
It’s cool what a little bit of inspiration can do…’