Brighton-based sustainable design studio, Distributed Design talents, DD-award 2019 shortlisted and participants of the Plastic For Good Challenge, Gomi has created an environmentally-friendly 12,000mAh Portable Charger made from 100% non-recyclable plastic waste, with 100% of the power coming from repurposed batteries saved from otherwise going to landfill.
The design studio originally won £10,000 from the Environment Now Programme to kickstart the project in January 2018, and went on to gain global media coverage with their first sustainable innovation; the Gomi Speakers. Now, their aim is to scale-up and introduce their consumer electronic products made from waste materials that are otherwise destined for landfill, to the mass global market – at an affordable price of under £40 each.
Gomi has launched their limited-edition Portable Chargers on Kickstarter!
Plastic waste makes up 85% of the pollution on our beaches around the world, and every year the UK alone throws away 1.2 billion kilos of flexible plastics. Worldwide, 150 billion kilos of flexible plastics are produced every year. Flexible plastic (LDPE) consists of plastic bags, bubble wrap and pallet wrap, which are all not accepted by UK councils for recycling.
Battery waste is a growing issue worldwide, currently over 3 billion batteries are produced every year with no real way to recycle or reuse them in commercial products. With global demand for li-ion batteries forecasted to grow 10% a year from 2020-25, the waste pile of batteries will carry on getting bigger. If electric and hybrid vehicles are removed from the forecast, the number falls to just 4% per year. Gomi is pushing hard to work with electric car manufacturers to ensure that their batteries has a second life. They hope to release portable chargers made from electric car batteries later in the year too.
Gomi taps into these specific waste streams, and transforms it from a pollutant waste into high-powered everyday Portable Chargers.
Gomi starts every project with one clear question: ‘How can we turn pollutant waste materials into cherished products that people will love using everyday?’ and began with these basic principles when designing the Portable Chargers:
→ Big enough to hold enough battery power to keep you charged for long periods without recharging, but slim enough to fit in your pocket.
→ Beautiful, with each one being an original work of art. This emotionally durable relationship people have with their objects can be enhanced through owning something truly individual.
→ Easy to manufacture in house in our Brighton workspace, which would benefit the local economy and avoid any long-distance outsourcing which would add to the carbon footprint of the product.
→ Easy to disassemble back into raw materials after use, to be easily upcycled into new future products.
→ Affordable and accessible to all, keeping the cost of the product under £40 each.
Gomi works closely with food wholesalers in Sussex, to recycle all of the plastic packaging waste – intercepting it before it’s sent to incineration or landfill. The Studio also accepts plastic waste from local households and businesses.
The Studio is currently looking at new ways we can scale-up their production process to intercept more waste, and we hope to use the Kickstarter funds to achieve this. Sustainable Designer, Manager at Gomi, and participant of the Plastic for Good Challange Tom Meades, says ‘Over the past 9 months, we have diverted around 500kg of ‘non-recyclable’ plastic packaging waste from going to landfill. We hope that by introducing an affordable, fully-circular product built from recycled plastic material, we can increase this amount by over 10x. Helping to clean the planet of pollutant waste streams, but also create fun, everyday cherished products that people love to use.’
Gomi are also offering a free return service to ensure the chargers are fully recycled at the end of life. Gomi can simply remelt the plastic down to make new products from.