As any company that develops and manufactures products, we also end up with leftover materials. These can be fabric samples, materials with small defects, waste parts, excess material, stamping remnants from our productions, etc. Of course, we try to reduce waste during cutting as much as possible and we maintain high quality standards to keep production scraps down to an absolute minimum. Unfortunately, we cannot completely avoid accruing waste material and until now we often have had to dispose of it, although it was actually much too good to waste. This is truly wasteful and something we have set out to change.
Under the motto “From remnants to raw materials” we have launched a small, fine upcycling workshop where we manufacture beautiful, practical products with creative ideas and skilled craftsmanship – each truly one-of-a-kind!
Last year we already made shopping bags from remnant production material in sewing workshops with refugees. In a sales promotion, the bags were sold out in no time at all. We donated the proceeds to the Asylum Network Tettnang, with whose support we carried out the workshops.
As the feedback on this event was overwhelmingly positive, we came up with the idea of setting up an upcycling workshop with refugees. With the help of funding from the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) we can now carry out this project. We have set up an operational structure and now want to establish a joint upcycling community with other partner companies. This is designed to serve as a material exchange platform and generate ideas for new upcycling products and collaborations.
The project received 70,000 euros in funds and was launched in September 2017.
»By implementing an upcycling production process coupled with the development of a new business model, VAUDE is opening up new opportunities for value creation while at the same time saving resources and avoiding waste. The integration of affiliated companies and institutions will also create a platform for up-cycling productions.
The project contributes significantly to the integration of refugees. They are offered in-depth insights into operational processes and professional perspectives. I hope that the project will continue to develop successfully and inspire many to imitate it.«
Leftover materials from our Manufaktur production facility are, of course, the most evident residual material for us, in the truest sense of the word. Since 1980, we have been producing backpacks, bike bags and lifestyle bags made of robust, durable materials directly on company premises at our headquarters in Tettnang, southern Germany. Now instead of disposing of stamping residues and excess materials that accumulate during production as we have in the past, we sort and collect the parts large enough to be used to sew new products. We bring these materials then directly to the newly established upcycling workshop where they are hand crafted into one-of-a-kind pieces. Based on the shopper bags from our first sewing workshops, we have two design patterns for a larger and a smaller bag, which we are now sewn in the upcycling workshop.
»As a result of this project, we are currently producing around 900 kg less residual waste per year, and are instead producing a number of great upcycling bags.«
Starting in spring 2018, the bags will initially be available in VAUDE stores and in our factory
outlet in Germany. Over the course of the year, sales promotions with our retailers will follow.
Upcycling-bags out of a Zeppelin
We will also be producing upcycled shopping bags and backpacks for the Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei as part of a pilot project – namely out of a discarded outer shell of the Zeppelin NT. Instead of disposing of this old hull, beautiful souvenirs will be generated so that, presumably in summer, fans of this famous airship will be able to buy these unique bags and packs from the Zeppelin shop in Friedrichshafen and online in the fan shop. Foto © Michael Haefner
iFixit: Upcycling repair sets
Another upcycling product is a small bag that we produce for our cooperation partner iFixit. These bags are filled with practical sewing accessories such as needles, yarn, stirrup patches and tools, and will be sold in the iFixit shop as repair sets.
Further information about upcycling here