Plastic waste otherwise deemed “not recyclable” by local councils in the UK has found new life as a portable Bluetooth speaker. Sustainable design studio Gomi have created the rectangular shaped speaker, which is made from 100 plastic bags.
Each Bluetooth speaker, which is shaped like a brick, features unique, colourful marble-effect design due to the various pieces of plastic used. The components are made from 100% non-recyclable plastic or flexible plastic. Flexible plastic (LDPE) consists of plastic bags, bubble wrap and pallet wrap, which are not accepted by UK councils for recycling.
The d+/esign is made up of three modular marbled-plastic components and is made using a combination of traditional craft techniques and digital fabrication. Modular design was implemented by the Brighton-based studio so that the pieces can be separated easily, and the plastic components can be melted and used for future products – without losing any material value.
Plastic waste makes up 85% of the pollution beaches around the world, and every year the UK alone throws away 300 million kilos of flexible plastics.
Gomi was co-founded by Sustainable Designer and Maker, Tom Meades, with the aim to introduce consumer electronic products made from waste materials that are otherwise destined for landfill.
Tom Meades said: “We were inspired by the cradle-to-cradle design process, thinking about our products full-lifecycle right from the beginning of our design process. 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.”
Gomi have worked with audio professionals and electronics engineers to ensure the speaker is not only aesthetically desirable, but also sounds great. They also paired up with major food wholesalers in Sussex, who have vast amounts of the specific LDPE plastic waste, as well as accepting plastic waste from households, and local stores, which makes for an interesting mix of colours between the waste streams.
Gomi aims to have free repairs and a free returning for recycling.
Gomi will be launching a crowdfunding campaign via Kickstarter shortly. Alongside releasing the speaker, they will also be releasing a portable power bank for smartphones made out of the same waste material.
Gomi hope that the funds achieved through crowdfunding will enable them to look at new ways of increasing their storage capacity, and scale-up their production process to intercept more waste.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about sustainable lifestyle and green living for publications, and offers content services to planet-friendly businesses. Find out more at Rosamedea.com