At a glance 2 min

A unique and sustainable portable charger

Gomi, a sustainable design studio located in Brighton in England, recently designed a portable charger made from plastic waste.
A unique and sustainable portable charger
A unique and sustainable portable charger

Each charger is a unique, handmade item: it is made up of approximately 100 grams of plastics and its marbled colour varies according to the waste available at the time of manufacture.

Turning waste into desirable high-tech products

Gomi – which means “waste” in Japanese – set itself the goal of intercepting non-recycled plastics before they end up in nature or in landfills in order to convert them into connected accessories - the type of high-tech objects that people love to use. This is a fairly rare application for the time being. Although end-of-life plastics are often used to make furniture, it is less common to find them in high-tech objects.

The recently-formed company is working with local authorities and wholesalers that provide it with the raw materials, mainly flexible packaging waste and used plastic bags made of Pebd or Pehd, that it uses to create its product.

Coloured marble

The entire process looks much like a cooking recipe: the recovered waste is placed in an oven and melted, and it is then mixed to form a large ball. The hot plastic mass is then kneaded until it takes on the appearance of coloured marble. The charger compression molds are heated and the mixture is poured into them. They then go through a pressing machine that ensures that the mixture has properly filled the whole mold. The excess plastic mixture is cut off and recycled, and the molds are dipped in water to cool.

Once the plastic has solidified, the molds are opened and the charger’s electronic components – recycled batteries – are inserted. And, all that remains to do is to assemble the charger!

A first connected and circular loudspeaker

This is not the company’s first attempt to create such an innovative product. It already made a name for itself last year with its connected loudspeaker which was also made using end-of-life plastic waste.

Its founder, Tom Meades, said at the time: “With our Bluetooth speakers, we want to intercept a waste stream, mainly comprising flexible plastics/LDPE, that would otherwise be landfilled or incinerated. We thought that it would make the ideal material. Ultimately, it is a precious material that should not necessarily be considered as waste polluting our environment. We can work towards converting the material into desirable objects.”

The Gomi charger is available since 31 March 2020 on the Kickstarter crowdfunding website.

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