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 makes up 85% of the pollution of our beaches around the world, and the UK alone throws away 300 million kilos of flexible plastic every year. Flexible plastic (LDPE) consists of plastic bags, bubble wrap and pallet wrap, which are not accepted by UK municipalities for recycling.
Gomi was co-founded by Tom Meades, Sustainable Designer and Maker based in Brighton. Tom told us: "We were inspired by the" cradle to cradle "design process, thinking about the complete life cycle of our products from the very beginning of the design process. With our bluetooth speakers, we want to intercept a waste stream that would otherwise be buried or incinerated. Flexible plastic / LDPE is widely considered non-recyclable by UK municipalities and therefore we thought it would be the perfect material to exploit and demonstrate that through innovative design this can be valuable and does not have to end up as waste polluting our environment. Instead, we can turn this material into desirable objects. "
The speaker consists of three modular components in marbled plastic and is made using a combination of handcrafted, traditional and digital fabrication techniques. The speakers are hand-marbled, which means that each product has its own individual aesthetic. Each speaker requires approximately 100 plastic bags to produce.
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 from 100% non-recyclable plastic. For the past twelve months we have been working with audio professionals and electronic engineers to ensure that the product not only looks good but also sounds great. We have also made a deal with Sussex's leading food wholesalers who have a large amount of this specific plastic waste. We also accept plastic waste from local households and shops, where we can find an interesting mix of colors among the waste streams. We are currently exploring new ways to increase our storage capacity and enlarge our manufacturing process to intercept more waste, and we hope to use Kickstarter funds to achieve this. ", adds Tom Meades.