Plastic has become a double-edged sword, with its numerous uses but obvious global waste problem. Although some plastics can be recycled, others are not accepted, such as the bubble wrap we all love to pop and pallet wrap. Now, the kick-starter company, Gomi, is looking to utilize these non-recyclable flexible plastics and recycle them with the creation of a portable wireless speaker.
“We were inspired by the cradle-to-cradle design process, thinking about our products full-lifecycle right from the beginning of our design process,” says Gomi’s Tom Meades, according to New Atlas. “With our Bluetooth speakers, we want to intercept a waste stream that would otherwise be landfilled or incinerated. Flexible plastics/LDPE is widely regarded as non-recyclable by UK councils, and so we thought this would be the perfect material to harness and show that through innovative design this can be valuable, and does not have to end up as waste polluting our environment. Instead, we can craft this material into desirable objects.”
Flexible plastic waste is either landfilled, burned, or ends up littering our environment. Now, Gomi is hoping to collect, melt, and compress flexible plastics into long-lasting reusable eco-tech products with a model that gets each product back for correct reuse, upcycle, recycle, or disposal use.
The three speaker designs are made from what’s equivalent to 100 plastic bags. These are melted, compressed, and molded into speaker housings. The process also involves creating a marble-like pattern by hand that makes each speaker a design of its own.
To gain access to these flexible plastics, Gomi has teamed up with local wholesalers in Sussex. Gomi is also accepting household plastic waste donations and hopes to integrate other ways to catch non-recyclable flexible plastic waste before it goes to a landfill or is incinerated.
The speakers are 5.4 by 10.6 by 3.1 in., and contain one dome tweeter, a base midrange driver, and Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless streaming. Each speaker provides approximately 18 hours of music per charge.
In addition to their speaker, Gomi has created a hand-made portable charger that contains a 20,000 mAH lithium-ion battery. In terms of power, this is enough power to charge a Galaxy S8 five times.
Gomi hopes the idea of recycling unrecyclable material can mitigate some of the consequences plastic waste poses.
“It is easier to reuse the material from old products we have built rather than to process new flexible plastic waste into new products,” Gomi says on their Kick Starter site. “Thus, it makes sense for us to recover products we have already created when the customer no longer wants it.”
Filed Under: Product design