Leading global travel baggage manufacturer Samsonite has come up with its first suitcase range produced from recycled post-consumer plastic packaging waste, both inside and out.
The ‘Green Grey’ limited edition of Samsonite’s ‘S Cure ECO’ tough but lightweight range combines a sturdy injection moulded outer shell formed from recycled polypropylene packaging with an interior fabric made of ‘Recyclex’ from PET bottle waste.
Samsonite, which developed the ‘Green Grey’ baggage at its innovation centre in Oudenaarde, Belgium, intends to offer models from the new limited edition exclusively 22 through its official website on 22 April to mark ‘World Earth Day’.
The baggage maker developed its ‘green’ cases together with the Dutch recycling business Quality Circular Polymers (QCP) which provided the secondary raw materials. Geleen, Netherlands-based QCP is a 50:50 joint venture partnership between polymers producer LyondellBasell and the French water and waste management group Suez.
QCP and Samsonite began discussing the potential of producing an industry-beating sustainable luggage collection making use of the recycler’s raw materials back in 2017.
Samsonite chose the Moplen Plus QCP189P PP grade with applications including injection moulding for the project. This is a grade specifically developed by LyondellBasell with high impact resistance, even at low temperatures which addresses the demands of quality baggage, said the polymer group.
A top global plastics, chemicals and refine group, LyondellBasell said it plans further action through QCP to provide sustainable end products on a large scale. Together with Suez, the group was well placed to assist Samsonite in this project through their combined expertise in recycling, recovery and plastics production, it added.
An example of the ‘Green Grey’ luggage collection is scheduled to be displayed on the LyondellBasell exhibition stand at the plastics industry’s 2019 K-Fair being held in Düsseldorf, Germany this October.
Samsonite said it is committed to continuing the development of environmentally friendly baggage. “We are continuously looking for ways to reduce our environmental footprint across our operations.
“Of course, research of new sustainable materials plays a key role as it allows us to combine our thirst for innovation with a commitment to sustainability,” explained the company’s global sustainability director Christine Riley Miller.
Although Samsonite outsources production of much of its baggage around the world, it does operate a second European plant located in Hungary. Over the past six years, the firm has quadrupled output of its PP and polycarbonate cases from this complex at Szekszárd, in the south west of the country.
In addition, in the past year the company has started to bring moulded plastic component supply back from Asia to Eastern Europe. Samsonite’s Budapest-based offshoot has been investing €5.67m in a project to upgrade and expand the plants of four medium sized Hungarian injection moulders in the Transdanubia region.
The company accepts that moving back to Europe could add to the manufacturing cost but using local moulders will, it believes, create a more stable and flexible local supply base.