Reused Remade Turns Old Bed Linen Into High End Shopping Bags
In the wait for a global plastic bag ban (are we there yet?), we’ve got to find other ways of carrying things around. There was a time before disposable plastic, so we’re pretty confident that this is doable. Of course, cotton tote bags have been trending for a while now, but as you probably know, this is not exactly a sustainable alternative. Cotton farming is a thirsty, pesticide-intensive business with a hugely negative impact on people and planet, and we don’t exactly need any more of that. So, if you don’t already have reusable bags at home for carrying your groceries (or whatever) then this might be the perfect solution.
We’re talking about upcycling (God that’s sexy!). Meaning: making use of something that already exists – opposed to using virgin materials, which is rather wasteful – and turning it into something new. Swedish company Reused Remade was founded by Pia Walter and Josephine Alhanko in 2016 with this exact purpose, offering an eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags made with pre-existing materials; in their case, old bed linen.
“We wanted to take care of the vast quantity of an already produced material that otherwise would be regarded as waste,” Josephine tells us. “Bed linen of high quality that can no longer be used as such now gets a new life as climate smart textile bags.”
Why did you choose to use old bed linen as the raw material for your bags?
– We chose bed linen because of its high quality and durability. Bed linen is usually white, rectangular shaped and looks more or less the same all around the world, which makes production easier. Basically, it’s a blank sheet with lots of possibilities!
What is the process of sourcing the materials and producing the bags like?
– We work with laundry services in Europe and hotel chains in Asia to collect the material, which is pretty extensive work that we’ll have to develop over time. Our aim is to produce the bags as close to the source of the material as possible, so the sheets are then transported to either the Baltics or within Asia for production – a simple process where the material is cut, printed and sewn into bags.
– We want to be a sustainable company every step of the way, and only work with BSCI or Sedex certified factories. We use water print, and do not dye the bags in order to minimize pollution. Producing our bags is actually safer and less harmful for the workers since the fabric has already been washed up to 150 times and lacks all traces of chemicals and pesticides.
“Producing our bags is actually safer and less harmful for the workers since the fabric has already been washed up to 150 times and lacks all traces of chemicals and pesticides.”
Have you considered end-of-use recycling and the circularity of the product?
– The bags can serve for a long time and can easily be washed and reused many, many times over before they come to the end of their life cycle, where they will either end up as filling material or be burned. This is usually what happens to the bed sheets right after they’ve been discarded, but by taking care of them instead and turning them into textile bags, we give them a new and longer life before they finally become waste.
Tell us about your new collaboration with Svenskt Tenn.
– We are so proud to be part of a collaboration with Svenskt Tenn; to get to work with a Swedish brand that stands for high quality and great design is fantastic. We prove to the consumers that a material that would be thrown away can actually be regarded as a new raw material and transformed into stylish, multifunctional bags for the high end market. Svenskt Tenn stands for sustainability, with prints and designs that last for decades. We hope that our brand will follow in their footsteps and be seen as an innovative high-quality Swedish brand in years from now.
What do you hope to achieve with Reused Remade over time?
– We aspire to be a global brand. We believe that the world is ready to shift to a more sustainable way of consuming and our bags fit that market. We believe that our bags can be produced all over the world since the bed sheets can be collected world wide. People will always have a need to carry things, and we can offer a better solution. Together we can take a step towards a smarter and more sustainable future.
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