Upcycling a billboard into a bag: Relan

Vinyl, aka PVC, is everywhere… and, as we’ve noted before (and as the film BLUE VINYL argued), it’s pretty nasty stuff. The best thing we could do is to stop making and using it, and substitute more environmentally benign materials. Second best… make use of all that vinyl that often goes to landfills.

Billboard vinyl is particularly ubiquitous… 600,000 tons of it are produced every year in the US alone. Like entrepreneur Jimmy Tomczak of Paper Feet, the founders of Relan saw a business opportunity in all of that material… as well as a way of keeping it out of the dump. Relan designs bags out of billboard vinyl… all sorts of them. The company contracts with other businesses (ranging from Lexus to Target to Verizon to even, yes, the Sundance Film Festival). Taking the old billboard material off of their hands, and making bags that either those companies themselves can sell (and give a little push to their own green cred), or which Relan itself can put up for sale. While they tend to focus on the promotional market, they’ve also created the “World Bag” for general sales… and, according to marketing VP Tom Schaeppi in the video above, they’ve also got a broader online store on the way.

Check out the video, and the gallery of bags on the company’s site, and let us know what you think: would you carry a bag made from vinyl? The stuff’s tough to recycle for consumers, so that’s one downside I see… but would love to hear your thoughts.

via 3BL Media