Travelling changes you. I really believe that, especially after experiencing this feeling myself on a recent trip to Indonesia.
I was lucky enough to spend three beautiful months travelling around the Indonesian islands with my partner. We experienced the beautiful culture of the Bali island, exploring Lombok and taking some digital time off.
But we struggled with one thing during our travels, and it was the immense amount of rubbish and plastic covering large areas of the land.
We would walk in tears, after seeing fishermen having to push their boats through rubbish at the shores. We walked past farm animals rummaging through rubbish for food and children playing games in kilometers of rubbish patches. This was really something we couldn’t ignore.
At that same time, we were in the process of launching new products to our collection, and I quickly diverted my original plan to creating collections made entirely from recycled plastics collected in Indonesia; from the ocean, farm land, beaches and waterways. I didn’t want to create a product where new plastic was being produced, we already have enough plastic on earth so why not repurpose it into something that we all use regularly!
So the research process began, and I spent 8 months learning about plastics, how recycling works and shocking statistics about the life of plastics. For instance, it can take up to 1,000 years for a plastic bag to breakdown. And on average, a plastic bag is used just for 12 minutes. I was lucky enough to meet our perfect collaboration match with a local Bali business and our recycling journey begin!
Our very first essential product is the eco-friendly QS Comb, made entirely from recycled plastics in collaboration with a local Bali business.
The plastics are collected from the waterways, oceans and landfills around Bali. These raw plastics are sorted into different plastic categories, then cleaned and shredded down. Followed by being melted into the comb mould and sanded to give a perfect finish. Each comb is made up of a mixture of plastic bags, shampoo bottles, plastic bottles and bottle tops. During the melting process, a beautiful marble effect is created, which makes each comb entirely unique.
When I was researching the perfect company to collaborate with in Bali, we had a couple of non-negotiables. We are focused on no overproduction, and have created a mould where only two combs can be created per time. Plus working to make the process completely sustainable, with each cut off or damaged comb being saved and reused for a new batch. Along with ensuring the plastic life doesn't just end with our comb, we've created a returning process where customers can return their comb to us and we'll up-cycle the material again into a new product. We're focused on giving the plastic we collect a second function, given it can take up to 1,000 years to decompose.
For now, this new adventure is something I am very excited about, it’s the first step in contributing to reducing waste and helping to move the beauty and fashion industry to start to do the same. There is enough plastic out there, let’s reuse what has already been created into essential items.