Now we have flat-pack furnishings. Flat-pack purses. Flat-pack pasta. Even flat-pack housing. Why? As a result of once you design one thing to suit inside a flat bundle, relatively than a large cardboard field, it’s extra space environment friendly to ship, lowering its value and carbon footprint. (Ikea’s complete 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 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’ve a pot. The truth is, it’s a self-watering pot, with a two-chamber design to stop overflow.
Beginning at $20, Potr pots are produced from recycled polypropylene (aka plastic). They’re screen-printed with shade, very similar to a T-shirt, atop a premium-feeling matte end. A brand new model, out there for pre-order to reach in February, can be produced from 98% recycled fishing nets. Its inexperienced hue just isn’t added; it’s the actual shade of the recaptured internet materials itself.
Whereas the idea of a folding pot may not appear all that mind-blowing, Potr is a excellent case examine in how a comparatively normal object might 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 want.
As Flynn factors out, the ceramic and concrete pots of right now are sometimes manufactured in Asia, then individually wrapped to be distributed round the globe. Should you’ve lifted one of these pots earlier than, that they’re surprisingly heavy. (And should you’ve damaged one, as I’ve, they’re additionally surprisingly fragile.)
If conventional pots final you many years, maybe all of the funding in delivery 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 style, and leveraging mechanical properties by way of design.”
Potr pots are presently produced in the U.Okay. by way of 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 enable these pots to be produced in international locations round the world. However the gentle and flat design might additionally squeeze simply into a delivery 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 provider on foot or bike (relatively 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? Properly, for one, you’re adorning your house with a plastic pot, relatively 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 can 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 just isn’t materials simply meant to be discarded and thrown away,” says Flynn. “It’s nonetheless a beneficial useful resource.”