Thursday, May 23, 2024

99Recycle turns trash mountains into sustainable fashion accessories

The future is increasingly planned in a sustainable way and combined with a circular economy in all sectors. The fashion industry and clothing brands are no different.

In the 21st century, sustainability of fashion has become very important, as this industry is one of the largest and most problematic environmental pollutants in terms of both the amount and the variety of waste generated. With an increasingly recognized weight in the Planet’s pollution, new ways of production and more eco-friendly collections begin to emerge around the world.

A Russian fashion brand from St. Petersburg called 99Recycle is trying to get rid of this garbage in the city by turning it into fashion accessories. Sifting through the trash, 99Recycle employees collect all kinds of recyclable materials to create backpacks, bags, laptop cases, and even skateboards, bicycles from them.

99Recycle turns trash mountains into sustainable fashion accessories
The 3D printer produces shapes and textiles that are handsewn together by employees. Credit: 99Recycle

99Recycle uses a massive Hyundai-designed 3D printer in which shredded recycled plastic acts as a raw material. So the cost of printing is much lower than that of conventional filament 3D printers. The 3D printer produces shapes and textiles that are handsewn together, which means that every detail of the brand’s accessories is unique. To date, the company has collected over 70 tons of recycled plastic by working with local non-profit organizations that specialize in collecting certain types of materials.

The process of preparing the materials is more complicated than for ordinary materials. Most of our time is taken up by the preparation, because we need to clean it, to make it even, to select it, to reject some materials,” says Olesya Kulik, designer at 99Recycle, explaining the time-consuming process behind finding the material and transforming it into a wearable or usable item.

All of the brand’s products are sourced from landfills. From bags, accessories, and even skateboards, everything is created in a creative way, with a unique design, in order to reuse the material.

The brand name itself reflects the idea of creating products in which 99% of the materials are recycled, and the products themselves are 99% recyclable.

In addition to having a store where they sell their products, the 99Recycle project also conducts interesting master classes and gives informative lectures on recycling, in which it talks about various methods of waste disposal, hoping to save the inhabitants of their city from the bad habit of throwing garbage anywhere. In 2020, 99Recycle became Project of the Year in the St. Petersburg Awards 2020.