For sustainable society


Up-cycled watch to tackle environmental issues

Metals such as gold and platinum left abandoned in many electronic devices have been attracting attention of many since the 1980s. The annual amount of electronic equipment discarded around the world is approximately 50 million tons, and the cost is considered to be over 6 trillion yen. According to the announcement made by the United Nations recycling rate of those materials is only about 17.5%, and more than 80% of those materials have been thrown away without giving it a second chance at life. 

A UK project has begun making a watch using unrecycled electronic parts using up-cycling. A British apparel brand – Vollebak, creates clothes with unprecedented materials has started to move with the concept of clothes from future. One of their latest products under development is ‘Garbage Watch’. Currently, the materials are being collected, and a prototype is being created. The commercialization is scheduled for 2021.

This new project began questioning common sense of many.
What if something we thought was garbage isn’t really garbage? 

Garbage Watch are to be made from parts of electronic devices such as computer boards, smartphone microchips, TV wiring and others which are similar to everyone. Vollebak is trying to reconstruct the existing supply chain from production to disposal, focusing on the processes of consumption and disposal.

Garbage Watch is a collaborative project with a British culture magazine – Wallpaper. The project inherits ‘Handmade’, a project that connects creators and manufacturers to create new projects. These new projects make the creators think deeper and question themselves as to how and why produce it? As well as how will it be used? Besides the Garbage Watch, projects planned include plaza fountains, urban gardening kits, and fast food packaging. They use sustainable materials and aim for a circular economy.

It’s said that 100 times more gold is sleeping in the waste of electronic devices than in the gold mines where people are actually digging gold from the ground. There are many advantages that can be obtained by solving problems, such as excavation labor and greenhouse gas emissions are small, and at the same time other rare metals such as silver and copper can be mined. With the release of Garbage Watch, the whole society will pay attention to such urban mines. 


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