Collaboration between Lindström and Painovoima helps solving a recycling problem with textiles, resulting in the creation of for example postcards and paper bags 

“Hello there… I used to be a cotton towel and people dried their hands on me. Lindström Family gave me a second chance and now I’m looking at the world from a different angle as a paper bag”, states a new, as well as an old, paper bag in a unique color. Eager to hear more of its story?

Caring for our planet and decreasing the amount of textile waste is a common goal for all of us. Using old textiles to create something new instead of burning them into energy is not a new procedure. But synthetic, mixed materials as commonly used in Lindström workwear to increase their durability are not that easy to recycle. Being able to create something, especially paper, out of used workwear with synthetic textiles was something new and innovative, leading to new lives and stories.

From a towel roll to a ready paper bag

It all started with a towel roll. Serving for years at our customer, first being made, then being ordered, delivered, used, washed, used again, washed…. A used towel roll, coming to the end of its journey. Or maybe not? Print maker Pekka Litmanen had a vision and he contacted Lindström and asked for used cotton on its way to recycling. The material of towel rolls worked perfectly, and postcards were created. But the question was: is it possible to create paper out of synthetic textiles, with cotton and polyester?

“Let’s do it and think about it afterwards” thought Litmanen, and accepted the challenge. This resulted into old t-shirts getting a new life as paper bags and postcards. The bag can hold a weight of a few kilos, meaning a multiple different ways of using it, and a multiple different angles the bag can look at the world from. The journey of the bag is not over yet. Where could it go next?

The bright future of a paper bag

The bag with a story behind it is perfect for example when one wants to give a gift for employees and customers. Usually paper bags to carry a gift are bought in a hurry and without much of a thought: now the bag can be part of the whole gift, covering and shielding it in a meaningful and thoughtful way. Even its unique color comes from a used t-shirt. You can write a personalized note on the bag for your employees while giving them a gift and thanking for a job well done. When parting with a potential customer, give them a gift bag with an inspirational message, and share the story of that bag.

Now the bag also has the option of helping society through Painovoima. People with disabilities, immigrants and students have all taken part in the process of making these paper bags in multiple different ways. Disabled people enjoy the calming effect of shredding the fabrics, and immigrants have a new way of learning the language while working.
“The material is also being developed even further and now combined with plastic. With this type of a material we can create products from a flower pot to furniture” says Litmanen, providing options after options. Right now the most viable option for businesses is to use the material as packaging material. Saving earth’s resources and nice-looking, not a bad choice at all, right? These steps of a single paper bag show the endless possibilities of recycling, increasing hope for a better tomorrow.

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