We’ve got flat-pack furnishings. Flat-pack purses. Flat-pack pasta. Even flat-pack housing. Why? As a result of whenever you design one thing to suit inside a flat bundle, somewhat than a big cardboard field, it’s more room environment friendly to ship, lowering its value and carbon footprint. (Ikea’s total enterprise mannequin is constructed on this concept.)
And now, we are able to add one other flat-pack design to the rising pile: plant pots. Potr is a model that claims to provide the world’s most sustainable plant pots. Arriving at your own home in a flat mailing envelope, you merely squeeze collectively the pre-folded template and tie it with a bit of bundled wire. Presto, you will have a pot. In reality, it’s a self-watering pot, with a two-chamber design to stop overflow.
Beginning at $20, Potr pots are constructed from recycled polypropylene (aka plastic). They’re screen-printed with shade, very like a T-shirt, atop a premium-feeling matte end. A brand new model, out there for pre-order to reach in February, shall be constructed from 98% recycled fishing nets. Its inexperienced hue shouldn’t be added; it’s the actual shade of the recaptured web materials itself.
Whereas the idea of a folding pot may not appear all that mind-blowing, Potr is a very good case research in how a comparatively normal object will be reinvented to be extra inexperienced. Designed by Andrew Flynn, a former lead industrial designer on Dyson’s air merchandise, he pulled from his expertise overseeing manufacturing in Malaysia and the Philippines—and understanding the realities of international manufacturing—to create a sustainable object that may be an object of need.
As Flynn factors out, the ceramic and concrete pots of at present are sometimes manufactured in Asia, then individually wrapped to be distributed round the globe. In the event you’ve lifted one of these pots earlier than, that they’re surprisingly heavy. (And for those who’ve damaged one, as I’ve, they’re additionally surprisingly fragile.)
If conventional pots final you many years, maybe all of the funding in transport and manufacturing is worth it. However Potr permits conventional, 12mm-thick pots to get replaced with 0.7mm-thick plastic. This represents a 98% discount in each quantity and materials utilization over typical pots.
“We use the absolute minimal of materials,” says Flynn. “The construction is given by the origami type. It’s utilizing supplies in a extra intelligent vogue, and leveraging mechanical properties via design.”
Potr pots are at present produced in the U.Okay. via an environment friendly course of that die-cuts a sheet of recycled materials, including its folds and cuts with a easy machine. Flynn imagines the manufacturing course of is standardized sufficient that it might permit these pots to be produced in nations round the world. However the mild and flat design might additionally squeeze simply into a transport container for international distribution. And on prime of that, as a result of these pots flat-pack into normal mailing envelopes, they are often delivered by a mail service on foot or bike (somewhat than a DHL or FedEx driver who makes use of a van). All of it provides as much as Potr’s lifecycle evaluation, that a Potr pot has 1/100th the carbon impression of a normal pot.
However do you commerce something for all this added sustainability? Nicely, for one, you might be adorning your private home with a plastic pot, somewhat than a extra treasured, conventional materials. And secondly, the present sizes solely attain as much as a 7-inch diameter. Flynn says he’s engaged on constructing pots as much as a 15-inch diameter, however that shall be about the restrict for the design, as a result of some core geometric limitations when producing the pot on a manufacturing line.
Nonetheless, for small- to medium-size home vegetation, Potr’s method makes a lot of sense. And it’s one more proof level that, “waste plastic shouldn’t be materials simply meant to be discarded and thrown away,” says Flynn. “It’s nonetheless a priceless useful resource.”