In recent times, rubbish has become a major environmental issue. Upcycling is not so much the name of a new trend, but the way to revolutionise how to manage waste.
One such example is SACKITEM, a Thai brand with products made from waste sacks and clear PVC plastic waste from factories in Thailand.
“We clean and sew all those waste sack into bags and bring new life to the waste through our design,” says Thanarak Voralittanon, Managing Director of SACKITEM. “We reduce sack waste and PVC waste by about 4.5 tonnes per year.”
SACKITEM is made from various waste sacks, packs of plastic granules, cement powder, bricks and sand, rice sacks, animal feed sacks, ice sacks, fertilizer sacks and clear plastic PVC.
The idea started when Voralittanon saw how many rice sacks were thrown away after use. He began to sew these into hand-made bags which he sold at his shop in Chatuchak.
“We have had a clothes shop at Chatuchak for about 10 years,” he says. “After we tried selling hand-made upcycled bags, we found that 100% of our customers were foreigners, and about five years later, there were some Thais.”
Voralittanon believes that the attention to detail in creating SACKITEM designs has been key to its success.
“Many brands have approached us asking for OEM business, as we have built our own brand,” he says. “So, I turned all those requests into collaborative projects, for example, using scrap materials such as coffee sachets, but the bag design is from us. We view our bag making as an unrestricted art. We focus on the colour, shape and pattern for the design.”
SACKITEM now has 95% overseas customers, namely from South Korea, Japan, China, France and Costa Rica. The rest are Thais. Their designs appeal to two types of customers.
“The first group consists of green conscious people who already understand about upcycling, turning waste into new materials,” he says. “The other group is of fashion lovers who understand design, how to choose a colour or pattern to match the composition of the piece.”
He sees creativity as the most important way to bring Thainess to the world.
“Whether it’s patterns or colours, if we know how to twist traditional Thainess with creativity, it can be applied to fit to the lifestyle of people today,” he says.
SACKITEM has always used both online and offline channels, including e-commerce platforms, such as Taobao. He believes there is nothing intrinsically wrong with plastic, but in how we use it.
“Plastics are made on the planet in a functional context,” he says. “Humans should be able to figure out how to live with plastic and how to manage to prolong its function to the best value and the most utility before throwing it away.”
For more information, visit https://sackitem.com/
Words by Natthinee Ratanaprasidhi
Photo courtesy of SACKITEM