Regular readers will know our ambitions to be able to shred unusable sails and sell this back to manufacturing, but why not push that even further and say that a sail could be wholly reused without the need to produce new material ever again. A tall order? I read recently from another entrepreneur that ‘great athletes set impossible goals and achieve so much by getting half way there…’ (Gil Penchina in Wired). Well, for one I don’t think it is impossible, but yes it is a big challenge and I am due to speak to the Foundation about how we can make this happen.
We have touched upon the cradle to cradle approach for sail manufacturing before and at the recycling end we believe we can shred sails and sailcloth to a material that is acceptable for use back into manufacturing. The challenge is making sails from material that can be wholly recycled back into the making of a new sail.
The Island is alive with such forward thinking and we hope to play our part by being the first sail recyclers on the planet!
Wine merchants Eurovines have on trial wine and cheese boxes packed with shredded sailcloth.
Not only does this look good, but provides a safe environment for the packaging of bottles and cheese.
One of the first steps to our national program of sail recycling took some shape recently. I was with the wonderful Chris from CL Shredders, Andover. Now, there isn’t much this guy doesn’t know about shredders and it was a pleasure to meet him.
Anyway, our sails sailed (sorry) through without too much bother and I now have four large bags of fluffy sail waste (see below).
We tried a really old sail in the tyre shredder – the ultimate shredding machine – but it didn’t like it much! Just goes to show the strength of some sails.
So now the question is how to use this waste? As some of you may have noted, we are trying some as insulation in the roof. We actually need a fair amount of shredded waste to make this an effective test. We are giving it a go nevertheless and it looks pretty good. I am writing a guest blog for another site about this so will link to that when I have finished.
Packaging. The guys at Eurovines are testing some of the nicer looking shredded sailcloth to use in presentation boxes with their wine. A novel idea and hopefully one that will work. We have already learnt that for this element we will need to clean it first
Other packaging ideas spring to mind and I am also discussing with bespoke mattress providers as they can use this for mattress stuffing.
We will also be using the same in a new range of Pet Beds we are currently developing (coming soon to the site). It will make for a very comfortable pet bed stuffing and will keep the cost down a little. Watch this space for a funky cushion as well, that may or may not work. R&D is a wonderful department.
We are learning all the time and hope to eventually have a process in place where a sail will never be dumped in landfill again. Keep watching.
If ever there were ever a need for an eco dictionary!
Upstream is the input market and downstream the output market, got that … ummm, no, not really. Let’s try again, upstream recycling means manufacturers creating products that are better for the environment, less packaging or superior degradable products for example. Downstream however is argued as being companies who turn material that would have otherwise been thrown away into a new product.
But now I am really confused because that is what we do and companies like terracycle and I have always called it upcycling. Indeed, upcycling has a definition in wiki (well that’s that then!) whereas downstream and upstream recycling do not. ‘… Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value…’
So…. I will stick to the old recycling and upcycling of sails and sailcloth. We upcycle sails into new products and we hope one day to recycle sails to sell back to sailcloth manufactures.
Some people have perhaps understandably questioned the use of such funds and the eco/environment argument has been put forward. One commentator has stated ‘…it is waste of money, especially as the flags and bunting will be thrown away afterwards…’
It doesn’t have to be as we can provide bunting made from recycled sails, namely old spinnaker sails that would otherwise end up in landfill. Indeed, we can hire bunting to local boroughs so it need not be an entire waste.
This would fit well with Boris Johnson’s plans for an ‘eco-makeover’ for London. He promised hundreds of green projects for 2012. So here is one that ticks most of the boxes Boris !!
I just liked this and it gets the message across.
We were delighted to see that influential bloggers from Pays to Live Green have written a short piece on our products. Posted by Tiffany it is our first review and I would just like to say thanks to her for taking the time to post.
Upcycling for those new to the site is the taking of an old product destined for the tip and turning it into a new, different product. Not recycling per se, but upcycling.