We now have another case of conflicting interests in regards to sourcing buckles and the like for our messenger bag range. We have recently purchased a supply of buckles from a local distributor who assures us that the product was made in Australia. Of the unbelieving type, we contacted the manufacturer directly who let us know that there is no manufacturing plant in Australia. Sounds suspicious on the distributors part, but we'll let it slide for now. What this means is that we no longer have "locally" produced buckles.
Not too big a problem as the manufacturer suggested a few ranges as an alternative. Option A is manufactured in New Zealand (surely thats local - Kiwi's are practically our brothers right? Well at least it is more local than say China or the US). This range is manufactured from new material and so isn't environmentally friendly. Option B is manufactured in Shanghai, and is constructed entirely from post consumer waste. Sounds like option B is more appealing due to its inherent environmental advantages. Only problem is option B can be anywhere up to 50% weaker than option A. A buckle that would normally hold 100kg would now only hold 50kg.
So all the added advantages of option B now seem obsolete. The messenger bags are designed to be used and abused, and to carry excessive weight all day. This means that option B may be unusable. This all depends however on its strength. The new buckles may be able to withstand 300kg, which means that a 50% reduction to 150kg is still quite usable. I suppose we just have to wait for a sample before we can truly tests its capabilities! We are in a slight pickle, but will keep you up to date with what we decide. For the time being however, rest assured all our buckles are new (not so good) but still have excessive weight holding abilities (that is good!).
It is interesting to note that neither of these options are recyclable by the manufacturer directly, but can be recycled in a normal recycling plant, or could be reused by us here at BOgear by installing them into your newer product.
Another interesting side note is that the manufacturer incorporates a closed loop system, meaning that any waste created during production is re-incorporated into the products. What this means is that 10% - 25% of each buckle is made up of pre-consumer waste (waste that is generated before it reaches the consumer). Does this make the end product environmentally friendly? We dont think so. What we believe it means is that the manufacturer is environmentally friendly. But the end product itself is still made from 100% new material.