This report details the materials used and regulatory compliance for each component of one of our solar backpacks. When sourcing materials for our products, we look for ones with lower embedded energy and less toxicity than traditional materials without sacrificing performance or substantially increasing costs.
Using recycled materials is one way to reduce the energy required to manufacture our products. Recycled PET (RPET) takes less energy and other resources to produce, reduces plastic in our landfills and has the same performance as virgin nylon.
Many elements of the bag, from the webbing to the buckles and interior padding are made from some form of plastic. In some cases, there are several different materials alternatives with a variety of environmental performance. The Greenpeace plastics pyramid provides guidance on which are preferable.
The European RoHS Directive is a tool that helps make sure our electronic components have minimal levels of toxic chemicals. RoHS stands for Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations. We request that all our electronics are RoHS compliant.
This is a work in progress. When we started, RPET fabric had just come into existence and we had to struggle to get our backpack supplier to use it. We now have multiple RPET fabric choices and it is considered commonplace to use RPET in bags. Similarly, most of our electronics suppliers now only produce products that are RoHS compliant.
Comments and suggestions about how we can continue to improve are always welcome.
Read the report here.