A British sustainable design enterprise is about to upcycle battery packs from Lime e-bikes and e-scooters and switch them into slick portable Bluetooth speakers.
Primarily based within the inventive hub of Brighton, England, Gomi has been upcycling plastic waste for a number of years. In 2018, the corporate launched the world’s first portable speaker made from non-recyclable trash and powered by one hundred pc reclaimed battery cells (every unit holds the equal of 100 plastic luggage value of non-recyclable plastic, the workforce says), and since then have added portable chargers and wireless mag chargers to their arsenal.
Now, Gomi is working with Lime to supply portable speakers utilizing the identical plastic repurposing methodology, but in addition powered with rechargeable second-life batteries from the micromobility firm’s e-bikes. The 25W speakers, which could be paired with one another for a stereo impact, can be obtainable in numerous color schemes — Birthday Cake, Black Mono, Blue Ocean, and naturally, Lime Inexperienced — and can be sold through Kickstarter. Every speaker prices £99 ($137) for tremendous early birds then will increase to £149 ($206) for basic sale.
The outside casing is produced from non-recyclable plastics, whereas the speaker is powered by a second-life Lime battery.
Gomi co-founder Tom Meades informed Mashable that he reached out to Lime on the finish of final summer season following the success of the corporate’s chargers. Having made impact in the UK market since 2018, Lime represented a likeminded sustainably-focused enterprise alternative for Gomi — its electrical scooters and e-bikes are modular, which means their elements could be swapped out or repaired, and the supplies that make up the autos could be recycled after they cease functioning. Nevertheless, Gomi’s mission intends to provide the fleet’s core batteries a second life as they are.
Andrew Savage, vice chairman of sustainability at Lime, mentioned the partnership allowed Gomi “to breathe new life into our batteries,” which might in any other case be recycled. “We are at all times in search of methods to enhance the sustainability of our service and are desperate to work with revolutionary firms like Gomi to search out second life alternatives for elements of our autos internationally,” he defined.
Proper now, Gomi has 50,000 battery cells from Lime’s Balham and Walthamstow warehouses in London, which is sufficient to make 12,500 speakers— Meades mentioned Gomi hopes to have all of them made by October, with supply earlier than Christmas.
So, how precisely does Gomi upcycle Lime’s batteries? The battery cells are faraway from the e-bikes and e-scooters, which are then cleaned and examined for charging capability. If the cells go, they’re made into battery packs for Gomi’s speakers.
“Principally all the packs on bikes, they must be sturdy, in order that they’re in these chrome steel containers, which implies that all of the cells are protected and waterproof so they do not get any injury in that method. We then should take aside the chrome steel shells and push the cells out,” defined Meads. “You then’ll see virtually like several battery pack like Tesla has and even vapes have, all of them have 18,650 cells. They’re all lined up, then it’s a must to take them out, and we check each to capability. We clear it up, we’ve to totally cost it, after which totally discharge it. From there, we check every cell, know which of them you need to use and which of them you possibly can’t use, after which assemble it into our personal battery packs, vacuum seal it, make it waterproof once more.”
Like Gomi’s different merchandise, the marbled exterior of the speaker is made with recycled plastic packaging waste deemed non-recyclable by UK councils. With 8 million tonnes of plastic ending up in our oceans yearly, this can be a welcome innovation.
Meades mentioned Gomi’s aim is to display that client tech could be each totally round and excessive efficiency, with a robust, fascinating aesthetic. And it is right here, Meades continued, that they are capable of be much more revolutionary with sustainable design — by working with an impact that the remainder of the trade tries to keep away from: marbling.
“Within the plastics trade, that is the least fascinating factor, marbling. So what they will do is once they recycle plastic, they will actually, actually attempt to make every thing a pure white color, which implies that loads of plastics cannot be recycled as a result of they don’t seem to be that pure white color, they can not get to that,” he mentioned.” So we embraced that and thought, really let’s make it marble, perhaps that would look cool, individuals may like that. And that meant that we might use extra waste streams, combine them collectively, they usually type of had this Jackson Pollock model summary portray model, and other people actually appreciated it.”
Gomi is not the primary native sustainable design firm Lime has teamed up with within the UK. Since November, the micromobility large has been working with UK recycling company First Mile to show shredded tyres into playground surfacing, shredded bike frames into manufacturing metal, and non-ferrous metals (metals that do not include iron) into aluminium merchandise like drink cans. Lime has aggressively pursued its environmental objectives globally of late, pledging to be net zero by 2030.