BFS used Trelleborg blankets converted into luxury briefcases

Consumables manufacturer and supplier BFS Pressroom Solutions has seen its used Trelleborg printing blankets transformed into luxury briefcases by environmental lifestyle accessories producer Elvis & Kresse.

Kent-based company Elvis & Kresse has combined the compressible layer of used Trelleborg blankets from Reading-based BFS’ customers Polestar Wheatons and Integrity Print with decommissioned fire-hoses from London Fire Brigade to produce the high-end soft briefcases.

“Our managing director Robin Hope contacted a third party, a green specialist, to find out what we could do with our waste, and it put us in touch with Elvis & Kresse. Our partnership started a couple of years ago but the R&D went on for a long time because it’s a difficult material to work with and initially it wasn’t working,” said BFS director Nicky Hope.

The first prototype had the canvas side of the blanket on the outside of the briefcase. As it would have got dirty too easily, Elvis & Kresse went back to the drawing board and decided to strip the blanket apart to use the compressible layer to produce the outside of the product.

“We deliver rollers to, and collect rollers from, both Polestar Wheatons and Integrity Print anyway so while we’re there in our van, we take their used blankets away too. There’s no added fuel being used in terms of carbon footprint because our drivers are already there. And then we only go down to Elvis & Kresse to deliver the used blankets when our driver is in the area,” said Hope.

“We dispose of the blankets that are really shabby through our other recycling programme which sees rubber waste converted into recycled materials for the agricultural industry or used to generate energy at recovery facilities.”

The briefcase lining is made with reclaimed military-grade parachute silk while the packaging and labels for the briefcase are also made from reclaimed materials.

Integrity Print health, safety and environment manager Dave Gill said: “I constantly strive to find innovative solutions to all of our waste streams, so when an opportunity to recycle our old, used printing blankets was proposed by BFS, I fully embraced the idea.

“The final result is incredible and demonstrates that by working together it is possible to improve our environment through waste recycling and materials reuse at little or no cost.”

Elvis & Kresse co-founder and director James Henrit added: "We are so pleased that BFS got in touch and stuck with us over the last few years of trial and error. This is an incredibly tricky but stunning material and it is a real joy to finally launch it in our range."

Half of the profits generated from the revenue of the upcycled bags, which can be purchased directly from Elvis & Kresse or from stockists in sixteen countries worldwide, will be donated to charity. Elvis & Kresse plans to make matching wallets with the material in the future.

Hope said: “We recently received a finished bag; it’s beautiful and the attention to detail is stunning. Now that the bag is fully in production and being sold across the world, we’re hoping to get more of our customers involved in our blanket take back scheme.”

BFS Pressroom Solutions employs 45 staff across three locations in Reading, Leighton Buzzard and Haverhill.