With launches like the Graphene Jacket and Squid Jacket, British apparel maker Vollebak has been exploring how high-tech materials can help change the face, function and future of outerwear and leisure apparel. Now it’s back to explore a different topic: how to prevent high-tech materials from simply filling landfills when they reach the end of their initial life cycles. The first path it takes is to recycle various obsolete parts and pieces into a flamboyant timepiece it calls the Garbage Watch.
“Today, most of the 50 million tonnes of electronic waste generated every year is treated like garbage even though it isn’t,” Vollebak frames the issue. “Instead, it contains many of the world’s precious metals, like silver, platinum, copper, nickel, cobalt, aluminum and zinc. In other words, millions of tonnes of the stuff people normally pay to dig up out of the ground is heading straight back into it.”
Artsy watches won’t save all that waste, but Vollebak explores how they could be a part of the solution. The Garbage Watch will help keep various metals and materials from ending up in landfills by using recycled components such as wires and microchips in its design.
Vollebak is developing the Garbage Watch as part of Wallpaper* magazine’s Re-Made project. It will push the watch from prototype to production over the next year, sourcing components from electronic waste recycling efforts to create the final design. Those who want to get in line early can sign up on the Garbage Watch waiting list. Vollebak will launch the watch in 2021.
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