In 2020, there is still no magic trash can for your kayak, your tent, your yoga mats, your kitesurf wings… The recycling of all these very technical products is still very low so they end up either incinerated or buried in open landfills.
Upcycling is therefore the solution we have chosen at La Virgule. The objective is to keep the technical properties of a product like the kayak, by transforming it into a responsible backpack. To get there, about 60 steps are necessary. Here they are :
Here is an inflatable kayak from the Itiwit brand from Decathlon. It is resistant, goes everywhere and it exists in several gun colors.
When it reaches the end of its life, the customer takes it back to their favorite Decathlon store. They are then sent back to us in batches in the north of France, to give them a second life.
The kayaks have now arrived in Calais in an ESAT which employs people with disabilities.
They are often full of sand, very dirty and the smell they give off allows you to tell the latest adventure of this product.
They are therefore cleaned in a machine and then cut.
Our 5 experienced seamstresses can then make your backpacks, all in joy and good humor! What a pleasure to see them flourish with Lucie, the workshop manager who follows them and trains them to do this remarkable work.
It takes several hours to complete all the stages of making the backpack.
Per kayak, approximately 15kg of reused materials will form 3 backpacks and 4 or 5 computer covers.
For now, we are upcycling almost all of these kayaks, except for the seats you see in the following photo. They are stored while waiting to find the best use for a future product.
Upcycling therefore offers a real opportunity to make our world circular!
So yes, the manufacturing time is longer because the material must be cleaned and cut, but what satisfaction to give a second life to these products.