Tettnang, Germany – Outdoor gear company Vaude has developed what it claims to be the world’s first recyclable backpack made from a single material. The backpack prototype also includes a 3D-printed suspension system, created in collaboration with 3D-printing specialist Oechsler.
Vaude designs fully recyclable TPU backpack
Backpacks typically use maybe five or 10 different materials, the company said, which makes them difficult to recycle completely. The Novum 3D uses just TPU.
The 3D printing enables an extremely lightweight honeycomb suspension system to be made. As well as providing ventilation, different degrees of hardness allow pressure distribution to be optimised.
The backpack is welded rather than sewn, removing the need for thread of a different material. It is undyed, so colorant additives are not necessary, either.
‘Thanks to 3D printing technology, suspension systems made of pure TPU are now possible for the first time,’ said Uwe Gottschalk, head of product at Vaude. ‘In combination with other mono-materials, the backpack can be easily recycled without complex separation systems. All non-TPU components were designed for easy removal.’