Ginkgo is the world’s first sustainably designed umbrella. Made entirely from one recyclable material, it’s lightweight, durable and comes in a variety of colors to brighten your day.
Most umbrellas out there are poorly made. Just spend one rainy day in a major city and you’ll to see hundreds of broken ones all over the street, and opportunistic vendors setting up shop to sell you equally poorly made replacements — not very sustainable. In fact, the about 1 billion umbrellas that are broken, lost, and improperly disposed of each year could circle the earth 18 times. There’s also enough metal in them to build more than 25 Eiffel Towers each year, and enough polyester (which takes about a century to biodegrade) to cover New York City. This combination of materials make most umbrellas what is often referred to as a “monstrous hybrid” — making it nearly impossible to recycle.
An Italian company called Ginkgo took this as a challenge and has designed an innovative compact umbrella, made entirely from just one completely recyclable material — polypropylene, which is both stiff and flexible. It is better able to absorb impacts and strong winds without breaking or bending, but also lightweight.
The number of components used to make it have been considerably reduced, from the traditional 120 pieces to just 20, assembled with the use of strong snap-fit joints instead of screws and moving parts. The fewer the components, the less chance of breaking. If something would break, that one part can easily be replaced.
Polypropylene was chosen because it’s one of the lightest plastic materials that is also highly flexible and resistant. Because it’s made from a single material, down to the thread used for the seams, it can be tossed in the recycling bin once it’s reached the end of its useful life.
The company has plans to start using zero-impact biodegradable polymers instead of the polypropylene, further enhancing the sustainability credentials of the umbrella. Ginkgo is currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo and has raised more than $70,000 — more than twice the initial goal.
The best part is that Ginkgo umbrellas come in a variety of fun colors, which can be fully customizable through a special widget on the company’s site. We could all use a well-needed pop of well-needed pop of color to brighten a rainy day.
Images courtesy of Ginkgo