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A backpack made of a single material

Swiss bag company Freitag designed a backpack made of only one material: polyamide 6.

Most products, including bags, are made of multiple materials. A certain fabric is used for the outside, another for the inside, and then another to make buckles, which can make recycling difficult.

Which is why Freitag opted for the principle of mono-materiality, i.e. using a single type of material. Every part of the bag is made of the same material, from the fabric to the straps and buckles, which means it does not have to be taken apart to be recycled. They used polyamide 6 (PA6), which is a versatile and resilient plastic, and most importantly, easy to recycle.

The fabric had to be developed by Freitag as there was no suitable fabric on the market. Along with a Taiwanese partner, they developed a triple-layered laminated material whose lining, waterproof membrane and outer fabric are all made of PA6.

Freitag admits that some minuscule components, such as the spots of adhesive for the lamination and the printing ink for the inner label, are not made of PA6. And glass fibers are added to the zipper slide for reinforcement. However, the proportions of these other materials are so low that it will even be possible to recycle the bags mechanically, which was tested.

Photos: Elias Boetticher / t-space Studio