Brighton's sustainable design studio Gomi, has created a portable speaker using flexible plastic waste that is normally considered not recyclable by the United Kingdom municipalities.
The study won £ 10.000 from the Environment Now program to launch the project in January 2018, with additional funding from the Santander Big Ideas competition in June 2018. Their purpose is to introduce consumer electronic products made from waste materials otherwise destined for landfill.
Plastic waste is the 85% of the pollution of our beaches around the world and every year only the United Kingdom throws 300 millions of pounds of flexible plastic. Flexible plastic (LDPE) consists of plastic bags, bubble wrap and pallet wrapping, which are not accepted by the UK recycling municipalities.
Gomi was co-founded by Tom Meades, Sustainable Designer and Maker based in Brighton. Tom told us: "We were inspired by the design process" from the cradle to the cradle ", thinking about the complete life cycle of our products right from the start of the design process. With our bluetooth speakers, we want to intercept a stream of waste that would otherwise be buried or incinerated. Flexible plastic / LDPE is widely considered to be non-recyclable by municipalities in the UK so we thought it would be the perfect material to exploit and demonstrate that through innovative design this can be invaluable and should not end up as waste that pollutes our environment. Instead, we can turn this material into desirable objects. "
The loudspeaker consists of three modular components in marbled plastic and is made using a combination of traditional craftsmanship techniques and digital fabrication. The speakers are marbled by hand, which means that each product has its own individual aesthetic. Each speaker requires about 100 plastic bags to be produced.
Gomi aims to have free repairs for their products and a free return for recycling. The products are designed to be modular, so that they can be easily disassembled and the plastic components can easily be merged into new components for future products without losing any material value.
Gomi is available on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform from the 26 February 2019. In addition to the Speaker, a portable smartphone power bank made from the same waste material is also available.
"Our components are made of non-recyclable plastic at 100%. In the last twelve months we have worked with audio professionals and electronic engineers to ensure that the product is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also sounds great. We have also made an agreement with the major food wholesalers in Sussex, who have a large amount of this specific plastic waste. We also accept plastic waste from families and local shops, where we can find an interesting mix of colors between the waste streams. We are currently evaluating new ways to increase our storage capacity and enlarge our production process to intercept more waste, and we hope to use Kickstarter funds to achieve this goal ", adds Tom Meades.