2021, the year we should have returned to 'normal'. We've spent the last year making great strides forward and redefining what 'normal' means to Millican, our products and our business.
One of the most exciting elements of redefining what 'normal' is, is that we can break things down and re-build them back up in a totally new way. A better way. A more meaningful way.
We make backpacks from rubbish, discarded plastic that would have found its way to landfill. We give purpose and a second chance to single-use plastic. That's an essential component of what we do. Part of our production methods means there's often off-cuts and sample rolls of fabric that we receive. We store this downstairs in the overly large storeroom we have. It's a natural part of producing something; not everything will be used up.
However! 2021, the chance to look at things differently, redefine our new normal, and be better at what we do. So we dived into said overly large cupboard and realised we had a problem, a waste problem. All this left-over fabric sat… being wasted. 'Well,' we said, 'not in our new normal world'. No! Let's do something with it, we thought, let's take that waste and turn it into a new product. Let's not stop there though, let's try and make the products as close to home as possible with skilled craftspeople!
So we did! This year we've launched several fabric re-use-up projects starting with the Re-Roll, a fold-away roll mat for keeping your bum dry when you sit outside on the ground. We made this in collaboration with the Moorswood crew – hand made from our Core Fabric, finished with a reclaimed Hose Pipe strap from Charlie's local fire station in Dartmoor. We didn't stop there though, we then sent a box of materials and webbing to the Dirtbags Crew down in Kendal. They make chalk bags and handlebar bags from left-overs. And so was born the Re-cycle handlebar bag. Made from our Maverick fabric gathered over years of production and it was made only 20 miles down the road and over a few hills from Millican HQ.
And so with 2022 just around the corner, it's more of the same, well, not entirely the same. We've got a few more rolls left of the waste fabric, so we've got a batch of the Re-roll and Re-cycle bar bags coming soon. That's all great. But the bigger question for us, the piece that really redefines our new 'normal' is that we have changed how we produce products at source, so there are no more waste rolls of fabric at all. It's not normal to have this much waste sat around in store rooms. Period.
With no more waste fabric turning up, we have to turn our sights back onto products that are at the end of their life or extending their life. We began Re-Home your Bag project in 2019, an initiative to take in old bags from any brand, fix them up and re-distribute them to projects and people who will benefit from the bags that would have otherwise ended up in landfill.
We hope to continue into 2022 collecting more bags and successfully rehoming them with our partners across the UK. We also have stepped up our repair service, with a UK and European workshop fixing and repairing Millican bags, so you can continue your journey to owning less stuff – an idea we believe should be normalised for everyone.
Whatever is ahead, 2022 will be what we re-make it.