28/06/19 Gomi Portable Speakers Made From Non-Recyclable Plastic Waste

In a move to prove waste is valuable, Brighton-based design studio Gomi has created a portable bluetooth speaker using plastic waste that is deemed non-recyclable by local councils in the UK.

Designed and crafted from flexible plastic waste, this includes materials such as plastic bags and bubble wrap made of low-density polyethylene, which is currently not accepted by UK councils for recycling because it costs more to process and recycle than what the material can be resold for. Sadly, this means that once it’s been used, it is then sent to landfill or incineration.

Thankfully though, there are innovative companies like Gomi, who are taking this waste material and transforming it into long-lasting products.

Each speaker features a rectangular body formed from colourful hand-marbled plastic, which means that every product has its own individual aesthetic and colour pattern, depending on the particular plastic waste that has gone into making it. With the equivalent of 100 plastic bags in non-recyclable plastic going into the body of each speaker, they consist of three modular components that can be easily separated and melted down into new parts for future products without losing any material value.

 

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Image courtesy: Gomi

 

The studio worked with local food wholesalers who typically use a large amount of packaging that is usually thrown away, as well as from consumers and the seafront in Brighton, UK.

“With our bluetooth speakers, we want to intercept a waste stream that would otherwise be landfilled or incinerated,” explained Meades to Dezeen.

It was important that the speaker was “not only aesthetically desirable but also sounds great”. To achieve this, the studio worked with electronic engineers and audio professionals to hone the sound of the speaker.

 

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Image courtesy: Gomi

 

The studio embarked on the project after its research found that plastic waste makes up 85 per cent of the pollution on beaches across the world, and that the UK throws away 300 million kilos of flexible plastic each year.

“We were inspired by the cradle-to-cradle design process, thinking about our products full life-cycle right from the beginning of our design process,” said Gomi co-founder Tom Meades.

In a bid to move towards a circular economy, the design studio is aiming to offer free repairs for their products and a system where customers can return the products to be recycled.