- Outdoor gear
- The environment
And so it comes to stand that when we design a product we first focus on all it's characteristics in regards to gear performance. For example we are currently sourcing webbing for use in a bag we have in the works; this bag will be subjected to heavy loads, high abrasion risk, and extreme UV (we are based in Queensland after all!). Thus the webbing needs to cover all these aspects to the greatest degree possible - we don't want any returns now do we!
Finding a webbing that adheres to these performance criterions is quite easy; we don't have to look much further than Nylon or Polyester webbing. The problems start to arise when we take into account our other two business ideals; the environment, and communities.
Is it possible to source webbing material that contains all the above performance characteristics, while also being composed from recycled content, and then at the end of the life cycle be recyclable? The icing on the cake for this hypothetical webbing would be that it is manufactured right here in Brisbane.
Unfortunately not so. There are no companies like this in Australia, let alone Brisbane.
So what to do? It really is a case of juggling plates. We have all these ideals that we need to adhere to, yet have to do one at the expense of the other. We can find webbing, but it has environment costs... or some other cost. So at the moment, we are searching for webbing made in Australia. This alone is quite hard. We have found only one company so far. The webbing produced by this company isn't recycled, and to our knowledge isn't recyclable at the end of its life.
I should probably mention now that we prefer to source locally, rather than overseas. We feel that local sourcing is a better option as it plunges money back into communities, as well as expanding local growth. It also means we will be less dependent on another society; which is a whole risk on its own should relationships with that society decline.
Nevertheless, despite our concerns, there is sometimes the need to look beyond our shores. We have found one company that produces webbing made from 100% recycled material, but unfortunately isn't recyclable at the end of it's life-cycle. It is also exorbitantly expensive due to minimum purchase quantities.
Again we come to the question of what to do. Our current plan is to obtain the webbing from the local source and then at the end of it's life reclaim it, and produce it into other products (such as wallets, money pouches and so forth.) We will also discuss options with the supplier about producing a recycled range. The likelihood of this recycled range occurring is pretty slim, so once we have enough money to purchase webbing better for the environment from overseas, we will jump at it. We know that this isn't sourcing locally, but in this case we believe the environment and whole life cycle of a product takes precedence over the community, as it doesn't harm the community.
If however the local webbing manufacturer decides to create a recycled range, then we have the icing on the cake! A product that adheres to all our ideals!
We'll keep you in the loop on our sourcing issues... keep checking back!