As material costs rise due to reductions in natural resources and heightened gas prices, more and more companies are discovering ways to produce less waste. A few ways companies are limiting waste is by creating network based databases instead of paper filing, ordering fewer supplies, installing recycling bins, and even requiring the use of reusable mugs to replace Styrofoam versions. A company in the UK, however, has taken this concept to a new level. The company, known as Elvis & Kresse, actually uses waste to create usable accessories.

Elvis & Kresse have established an entire business philosophy centered around the concept of adaptive re-use. The company creates “stunning life-style accessories by re-engineering seemingly useless wastes” (http://www.fire-hose.co.uk/). Beginning in London, the  group began making commonly used goods from old fire-hoses. Once fire hoses are relinquished from their intended careers, they are “destined for landfill” (http://www.fire-hose.co.uk/). Elvis & Kresse collect the otherwise useless fire hoses and design items like handbags, belts, straps, candle stick holders, and even place settings.

As if its not remarkable enough that the designers can make beautiful accessories from “junk,” Elvis & Kresse even consider re-use in their packaging processes and in store displays. All packaging is either reclaimed or recycled. Therefore, the packaging is recyclable and reusable. Some of the items they use as packaging are pre-used shoe boxes, grapefruit crates, cardholder pouches, and waste tea sacks. In the shop, the items are dispayed on old pallets that otherwise would have been thrown away.

The company began in London and has since been expanding throughout the UK. Now, throughout Britain, fire brigades donate their old hoses to the accessory making company. Along with expanding beyond London, the company began exploring more reclaimable options. They currently accept not only condemned fire hoses, but also waste coffee and tea sacks, used air traffic control flight strips, closed cell foam, cardboard, pallets, parachute silk, and office furniture textiles. The products, once they have ran the course of their intended use, are typically thrown out. In a landfill, most of the objects are unable to deteriorate, therefore existing forever as trash. This group, however, has utilized re-engineering techniques to the fullest in order to reduce unnecessary waste. The accessories demonstrate how seemingly useless junk can be re-engineered into desirable treasures.

In order to show their appreciation for donations, Elvis and Kresse give 50% of their profit back to the Fire Fighters Charity. For more information, or shopping enjoying, visit the Elvis & Kresse website.

Photo Credit: Elvis & Kresse

Samantha Smigelski
Contributing Author

Samantha Smigelski is a writing and architectural contributor, and also an Intermediate Technical Designer.