Non-recyclable plastic waste recycled into portable speakers
Plastic is something of a modern curse. It's diversity and usefulness has led to a global waste problem that's choking our oceans, land and air. While some plastics can be recycled relatively easily, others like bubble wrap and stretchy pallet wrap may not be accepted by municipalities. Gomi design studio out of Brighton, UK, is looking to do something about that, and has created a portable wireless speaker that's made using recycled flexible plastics.
"We were inspired by the cradle-to-cradle design process, thinking about our products full-lifecycle right from the beginning of our design process," said Gomi's Tom Meades. "With our Bluetooth speakers, we want to intercept a waste stream that would otherwise be landfilled or incinerated. Flexible plastics/LDPE is widely regarded as non-recyclable by UK councils, and so we thought this would be the perfect material to harness and show that through innovative design this can be valuable, and does not have to end up as waste polluting our environment. Instead, we can craft this material into desirable objects."
The three modules that make up each speaker are made from the equivalent of about 100 plastic bags, which are melted, compressed and molded into speaker housings. The fabrication process also involves creating marble-like patterns by hand – which means that each speaker can be made to look unique.
The design studio has partnered with local wholesalers in Sussex to source the necessary plastic waste, which might otherwise go to landfill or be incinerated. Gomi is also accepting household plastic waste, and is currently looking at other ways to intercept non-recyclable flexible plastic waste.
As for the internals, each 138 x 270 x 80 mm (5.4 x 10.6 x 3.1 in) speaker is home to one dome tweeter and one midrange driver, and Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless streaming. Listeners can look forward to 18 hours of playback per charge of its internal battery.
Gomi is also making a portable power brick encased in the same material, which features a 20,000 mAh Li-ion battery and USB-C, standard USB and fast charging USB 3.0 ports for cabling up to device charging ports.
To fund production, the design studio has launched on Kickstarter. Pledges for a Gomi speaker start at £195 (about US$260) and, if all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in November. The Gomi charger/power bank is pitched at £39, and also has an estimated shipping date of November, 2019. The video below has more.