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LCA of blue + yellow = ‘green’ laptop sleeve?

The challenge

UNBEGUN manufactures unique products from discarded material: from laptop sleeves to shoulder bags, all items are made with second-life high durable materials. Boedelbak – the Dutch market leader in trailer rental – and UNBEGUN have joined forces, together they introduce a collection made from Boedelbak’s old trailer tarpaulins. Instead of sending this ‘waste stream’ to the incinerator, the iconic yellow-blue sail cloths are given a new purpose after years of loyal service.

This in itself already sounds quite sustainable, however “sounding sustainable” does not suffice any longer in today’s society standards. Transparency about and quantification of sustainability is of key importance now. 

The approach

With this in mind, UNBEGUN wanted to know the exact environmental impact of their product. Hence, a partnership between UNBEGUN and Hedgehog Company blossomed, and Hedgehog Company performed a life cycle analysis (LCA) of an UNBEGUNxBoedelbak laptop sleeve.

The result

The LCA report revealed that more than half of the emissions generated during the whole cycle come from electricity used for lighting and for the washing machines that wash all the sailcloth, and from gas for heating.

As a result of this research, Hedgehog Company advised UNBEGUN to switch to a green energy supplier. UNBEGUN takes this very seriously and will change their energy supplier this year already, so that emissions will decrease by even another 50%.

Because of the collaboration of UNBEGUN together with Boedelbak, 2,500 sail cloths can be recycled to new products. That compares to 30,000 kg of the yellow-blue fabric. In total, 61,800 kg CO2 equivalents is saved by this concept.  

What does that mean per product? The production of one UNBEGUNxBoedelbak laptop sleeve produces 1.99 kg CO2 equivalents. When compared with an average laptop sleeve, one can conclude that the production of a UNBEGUNxBoedelbak laptop sleeve is 0.39 kg net CO2 equivalents lower; that is almost 20% less CO2 emissions.

Martijn Hemelaar
Owner of UNBEGUN
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