Plastic pollution is at the forefront of our lives at this current time.
Although most of us are making a conscious effort to reduce our consumption of single use plastic, there are always limitations beyond our control.
But the guys at Gomi are paving the way for plastic innovation.
This Brighton-based design studio has created a Bluetooth portable speaker made from flexible plastic waste that can’t be recycled by local councils in the UK.
Tom Meades, co-founder of the company and the designer and maker, says: “It is actually a really great material to work with.
“It just seems a shame to put it in the environment when you can actually turn it into something.”
The team wanted to make a product that was fun and appealing to younger people,.
“We use a lot of devices and we felt that it would be really interesting to try and push the boundaries,” he explains.
Rather than making something that would contribute to the plastic waste, the speaker was designed to complement the environment and the consumer.
Each speaker takes equivalent of 100 plastic bag worth of flexible plastics to make.
Plastic waste makes up 85 per cent of the pollution on our beaches around the world.
Every year the UK throws away 300 million kilos of flexible plastics.
Each speaker aims to use 1kg of plastic waste that is collected from local businesses such as cafes, shops, and a lot of food wholesalers, who have a lot of materials that they don’t know what to do with.
Tom says: “Over the past year we’ve created a really good community of people who all want to donate material so that it doesn’t go to waste.”
He adds: “It has been amazing the response we have had.
“We are actually inundated with plastic at the moment.”
Although, the process is anything but a speedy one.
It works in a three-stage process.
It takes one day to melt the plastic, one day to individually handcraft the marble designs, and a final day to be pressed into moulds. Then it is ready for the electronics to be fitted and it is then that the speaker comes to life.
The business only started back in January 2018, so it is still very early days.
“Our main goal this year is to get the speakers out and to see what people think about them,” says Tom.
They are also extremely keen to push collaborations and work with other companies such as other technology or sustainability companies, to be able to share advice and skills.
Tom says: “We know that we are not the biggest company in the world.
“And I think if we are going to have real change in the market, the best way to do that is to collaborate with bigger companies.”
The studio won £10,000 from the Environment Now Programme to kickstart the project in January, with further funding from the Santander Big Ideas Competition in June 2018.
Gomi also offer a two-year warranty and also aims to have free repairs for their products and a free returning for recycling.
“The last thing we want to do is make something that is going to break and become plastic waste again,” Tom explains.
The whole point of their project is that it doesn’t go to waste.