The first recorded use of the term “upcycling” occurred two decades ago by Reiner Pilz, a German engineer at an automation technology company. Pilz was quoted in an article disparaging the process of breaking down garbage into tiny pieces to recycle them. He thought it would be better to give more value to old products, rather than less. Not down sizing, not recycling, but upcycling.
However, upcycling as a practice is nothing new. Think about all the upcycling that was occurring before 1994. In many impoverished countries, where materials aren’t cheap, repurposing items has been a daily practice. Think about the planter boxes you made from milk cartons in elementary school. Your grandmother’s patchwork quilt is a version of upcycling. Even Pablo Picasso’s “Bull’s Head” made from a bicycle parts is an example of upcycling in art.
Riding this wave of upcycling is a company called Station Supply Co. They repurpose life rafts, military fabric, and fire hoses into electronics cases, flasks, and pet leashes. Learning from his friend Stephen Opperman, designer and creator of the former Temple Bags, Joel discovered an interest in creating with re-purposed materials. With the help of another friend, Steven Dubbeldam of Wilderness Collective, Joel created Station Supply Co. Joel thinks the company has been successful, not only due to the popularity of products made from salvaged materials, but also due to, “the quality and uniqueness of our products along with our commitment to customer service.”
There is no doubt about the quality of the materials at Station Supply Co. Fire hoses, and life rafts are durable and meant to withstand abuse. It makes sense that you could use it to protect your shatter prone iPhone. Beyond delivering a durable product, Joel always tries to deliver the best customer service experience possible. “Creating a cool product is one thing but at the end of the day, when a customer has had a great experience from shopping to purchasing to receiving that shipment on their door step, that's what's awesome.”
Joel says there are new developments in the works at Station Supply Co., from new products to new collaborations. Check out the offerings over at Station Supply Co.