Firstly, a big thank you to Mountain Designs Australia for donating two overflowing pallets of backpack shoulder straps. These backpack straps were manufacturing errors (through no fault of Mountain Designs) and would have been relegated to landfill. While there is nothing physically wrong with the materials in the straps, they don't have reinforcing strips of fabric behind key bar tacks. What this means is under heavy loads the straps could potentially break; thankfully the problem was discovered during stringent quality control checks, with MD realising that this needed to be fixed. Unfortunately, from a purely financial perspective it worked out cheaper for MD to get the straps re-manufactured, rather than fix the current straps. What this means is thousands of shoulder straps could potentially enter the landfill.
Enter stage left, Luke Reynolds, product manager for equipment at Mountain Designs. Being a greenie to the core, and not wanting to see anything wasted he contacted us here at BOgear and offered the straps. We jumped on the chance to collect these straps, as they contain numerous components which are usable to us. Examples include webbing, buckles, tri-glides, miscellaneous plastic components, as well as EVA foam.
These components will soon be used in future products, and will help increase the reclaimed content of our bags. Keep your eyes peeled for these components in future products!
This donation is much appreciated as it is acts like this that help a small business with big ideals make headway! A huge thank you goes to Luke and Allan at MD for making this donation happen.
Now that we had the shoulder straps, another dilemma faced us; how were we going to recoup the usable components, without being exorbitantly expensive? The shoulder straps would take hours and hours to cut apart, separating webbing and plastic component from foam. From a paid perspective this would cost a small fortune; negating the positive financial effects of the donation in the first place! Finding a way around this conundrum, we armed ourselves with piles of scissors (some which didn't work), an esky full of beer, a bbq choked with meat, and two bottles of spirits. And then we invited around six friends. Two bottles of spirits and an empty esky later, all of our fingers were covered in blisters and we had made our way through just short of half of the shoulder straps. We were also incredibly tipsy!
Thank you to Annette, Bri, Vanessa, Mike, Chris & Simon for helping us cut up the shoulder straps removing each usable component, and separating them into piles. Your time and effort is much appreciated! It really does help us gain ground, towards the right direction! Cheers guys!
Mini update: We have two products in the works using these reclaimed straps and materials. The products contain near to 99% reclaimed materials, so stay tuned!