Here's one way to tread a bit more lightly while traveling.
A great deal of attention is given these days to what goes into a suitcase. You can find thousands of articles on how to pack more efficiently and choose versatile fabrics and designs. But perhaps we should take some time to discuss the suitcase itself and how it is made, because not all suitcases are created equal.
I had never given much thought to sustainable luggage until I learned about Phoenx, a brand new compact luggage collection that has recently launched on Kickstarter. The outer shell is made entirely from recycled polycarbonate, with a partially recycled (30%) aluminum handle and interior lining, laundry bag, and small attached backpack made from Econyl (regenerated nylon made from old fishing nets). The side and top handles are rubber, and the wheels are nearly silent ABS plastic.
What makes Phoenx stand out, however, is the fact that all its parts are modular and thus replaceable. As co-founder and CEO Francesco Salom explained, "When you feel it is time to renew it, you can send it back to us and choose between having it restyled by our creative design team or getting a new model."
While 'restyling' and upgrading are not exactly environmentally friendly practices, repair certainly is. I've written about this before in the context of electronics, when "manufacturers of many major technologies, from smartphones to computers to tractors to cars, actively inhibit repair... by withholding manuals, software, computer codes, and parts." But really, it applies to every consumer product. We need to start designing for things to be fixed, not replaced, so it's refreshing to see a new brand doing precisely that.
A press release goes on to explain how else the brand is trying to help travellers to tread lightly:
"With a product that transforms waste including fishing nets, carpets, recycled plastics, rubber and aluminium into a durable new form, PHOENX have developed an ethical flow that includes worker-friendly production and a holistic collaboration with non-profit Oceanic Global whose international hubs advise industry and interest groups how to adapt their operations with the health of our oceans in mind."
You can learn more on Kickstarter and line up for one of these stylish bags right here.