Sustainable Backpacks from Bottles
Did you know that it can take up to a 1000 years for a plastic bottle to break down in a landfill? That’s such a shame for a bottle that also could’ve been used for something else, right? Why would we pollute the planet with plastic if we can re-use it for another purpose instead?
Meet Parkland (Vancouver, Canada), a brand in the bag industry that is doing exactly that.
In 2015 Parkland was founded and realized its vision of producing exceptional products which stand for individuality, fun and everyday life.
They encourage everybody to discover new things and places on a daily basis, since there are beautiful places all around us that are ready to be explored.
At Parkland they like to keep things simple. They design durable backpacks with clean silhouettes and refined details, and on top of that they offer a limited lifetime warranty on all of their products.
According to Parkland’s brand director, there’s a lot of noise out there. Brands are trying do all kinds of exclusive things.
As a contrast to that, the Vancouver-based brand tries to be accessible and refrain from all the details, straps and designs. Parkland tries to do something so simple, that they break through with it.
They don’t want to make people feel like they’re creating an image with the pack they’re carrying, because it’s not about being defined by what you’re wearing with these bags.
Instead, Parkland likes to see their backpacks as blank canvasses. You make the pack; the pack doesn’t make you.
But there’s way more behind this Canadian brand than just ‘keeping it simple’. Parkland’s primary goal is to contribute to the reduction of our impact on the environment.
This goal is embraced by the company and all its employees, and used as a gateway to take both the symbolic and aesthetic value of their end products to the next level for their customers.
They achieve this by addressing a big global issue: the waste of plastic and its negative influence on the planet.
Every bag that Parkland produces has an exterior that is made out of 100% recycled plastic obtained from water bottles. This is a great way to contribute to the fight against the pollution that’s coming from plastic waste.
But wait a second… How does a plastic water bottle turn into material to make the exterior of a backpack with?
Producing sustainable backpacks
In general the exterior of a lot of backpacks is made out of polyester. In most cases polyester is obtained in the traditional way.
The traditional way of making polyester uses a very energy-intensive chemical reaction involving coal, petroleum, air and water. Not very environmentally friendly…
However, obtaining recycled polyester from plastic water bottles, on the other hand, requires far less energy in the process.
Parkland created a video in which they break down the manufacturing process from bottle to bag in a very simple way.
First they sort all the plastic bottles, after which they shred them. The shredded plastic is then melted which results in a soft fabric.
This fabric gets spun into thread, which is weaved into a canvas afterwards. This canvas then gets dyed, after which it is sewn and processed onto the backpack.
Even though the process of obtaining the recycled polyester differs from the traditional polyester, the quality of the end product is very similar.
But the advantage of using the recycled polyester is that Parkland is able to reduce the amount of plastic waste that is in circulation.
As you’re reading this, you might not experience the issue of plastic waste as a huge problem for you personally…
If that’s the case, just think about this for a second:
Every single minute 1 MILLION plastic bottles are bought around the world.
Of those 1 million plastic bottles only approximately 200,000 get recycled. Meaning that the remaining 800,000 just go to waste because they aren’t used for another purpose.
For every backpack made by Parkland they recycle 12 water bottles. Those 12 water bottles also could’ve ended up polluting the planet, but instead Parkland takes this waste and puts it to a great and sustainable use.
Hopefully, more brands like Parkland will become big players in the bag industry, so that the amount of recycled plastic will be increased even more over time.
A sustainable future
The products from Parkland are already very sustainable and contributing to a lesser impact on the environment.
However, the organisation is still striving to refine their business by exploring possible innovations and using even more sustainable fabrics.
In the future, Parkland sees itself prolonging the life of their products even more.
They acknowledge that their current way of addressing the global issue isn’t a solution of the problem, however it’s certainly a major step in the right direction.
At Parkland they strive to lead the way in sustainability. That’s why they also continue to implement more sustainable practices within their business outside of product manufacturing.
The cardboard boxes that are used for shipping orders, the bags used for packaging, and the seasonal catalogs that get printed are all made out of recycled materials.
Even the employees at Parkland contribute to this vision by following a thorough recycling program in the office.
On top of that, most of them even go the extra mile (sometimes even literally) and walk, bike or use shared transportation to travel to their workplace.
And it doesn’t stop there, as Parkland is always looking for new ways to reduce the impact on this planet.
Besides that, Parkland will also keep supporting the concept of daily discovery. We all have beautiful places to be explored near us, however some of us still haven’t discovered these yet.
That’s why Parkland will keep on encouraging people to find those special places, and use their backpacks to bring anything they need with them.
Instead of enjoying the present, we’re too busy with longing for other things. We should all look a little harder at what we do have, and enjoy it as much as we can.
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