InnovatingSMART

THE INNOVATION:

Inspiring kids to upcycle by designing a take-everywhere fun product that utilizes everyday trash items as its changeable packaging or “skin”.

 

Adam Wegener
Rockstar  (aka Co-Founder and Designer)
TrashAmps

www.trashamps.com

 

Introduction...

Excerpts:
  • What we’re doing is taking everyday objects that you might throw away and finding a new use for them… in this case making a portable speaker inside of a soda can. [“What will they think of next?"] That’s right!  The thing that’s innovative about it is, upcycling is an age-old idea… this product says it in a way that is really accessible – and cool.

  • [When kids are introduced to upcycling]  one of two things happens, neither of which is very useful…   Either it's: "Let’s take a milk-carton and fill it up with sand, and now we have a doorstop."  That doesn’t inspire anyone to change the world.  Or some green companies are recycling car tires into shoe soles.  That’s cool, but kids don’t see the connection [because they can no longer see the tires].
  • We are bringing together two things that are easily recognizable – music and soda cans.  Two things everyone recognizes.  Two things that no one has ever considered to pair.  It’s not very complicated to see that all we did is cut the top off.   So it's easy to understand.

 

Demo!

Excerpts:
  • [“There should be one of these in every backpack.”] Yeah! It fits anywhere you can fit a water bottle – on your bike, in your car.  The uses are really limitless. [“All these people have already accommodated this package, so why not use that accommodation for something new?”] That’s right.

 

On Amps and Cans

Excerpts:
  • In college my roommate had an assignment to make a [speaker] and put it into an Altoids tin.   It didn’t sound very good, so he then put it into a soda can.  We’re both musicians and played together a lot, and I said, maybe we could turn this into a product.

  • The first prototypes were labor intensive,  we [needed to be able to] make enough for people to latch onto.

 

Brand Partnerships

Excerpts:
  • You are allowed to sell the [reused] can as long as there is nothing in it.   If the customer doesn’t like Coke, they can cut the top off another can and change the skin.

  • Brand partnership potential is at three levels – “We’re adding value to your product, so you should pay us a licensing fee”… or "It doesn’t have to be your brand, but it could be, and it could really elevate your brand… so why shouldn’t you be paying us."  The space in between is we are both benefiting… kind of a break-even scenario.

  • What I hope to release later this year is a kit…  that easily allows them to take their own trash objects [to make a new skin]…. It may be their first experience in upcycling they’ve ever had, and it could be a powerful one.

 

 

Many Ways to Reuse Packaging

Excerpts:
  • The vision of TrashAmps is you could put a speaker in anything, the only limit is your imagination and if you can make it work…[It could be] a Chinese take-out box, a mason jar, a Starbucks coffee cup.

  • Kids really understand the value of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle.  [This can help them] grow up with a framework of upcycling… [”The value is beyond what TrashAmps is itself, but what it represents and what it inspires for the future”.]  Yeah, I’m really inspired about that aspect in particular. I know there’s  a lot of things I’ve been inspired by that [led to] creating this.  [I like] creating that platform… for others to be creative and to experiment -- getting people thinking about it.

 

 

Creating with Constraints

Excerpts:
  • A lot of my design efforts have gone into saying – how are [all these parts] going to fit in this little package that already exists, and the dimensions are fixed?… [“You use the packaging that you’re given as your creative constraint.”] Upcycling is more complicated than products where you design something and have it made. But I think it results in products that are cooler, more inspirational, and more meaningful.
  • Always try new things…Even if it doesn’t turn into a huge success.. It could be that seed that you plant in someone else that could lead to more success.

 

 

See Adam's bio at GreenBiz.com

 

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Sue Lebeck 

  Cool Block Platform Director

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