If you design a product whose production method yields waste material, it would be great if you came up with something useful you could make from the scraps. That’s what camping supply company Nemo Equipment has done here.
The company makes these ultralight closed-cell foam sleeping pads:
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Producing those generates lots of polyethylene foam scraps. The company collects these and remolds them into their smaller Chipper seating pads:
The colors aren’t exactly attractive, though they do speak of its upcycled provenance. And garish as it is, you’re not likely to overlook this and leave it at the campsite when you pack up.
“By reclaiming foam remnants from our pad manufacturing, in the first year of production we are able to keep 8.8 tons of scrap foam out of the waste stream and 48 tons of carbon dioxide out of the air compared to using virgin materials,” the company writes. “We picked just the right blend of reclaimed scraps to give Chipper™ excellent support and resilience. And utilizing the hexagonal nesting pattern from our Switchback™ pad, we were able to optimize for packed size and weight.”
The Chipper weighs just 5.6 ounces (160 grams), and unfolds from a packed size of 12.5″ x 4″ x 2.5 in (32cm x 10.5cm x 5.7cm) to 13″ x 17″ x 1″ (32cm x 42cm x 2cm). And I could see these coming in handy for more than camping: I wouldn’t mind having one of these around for a plumbing job, deck work or riding mower repairs. I think I’d prefer tossing one of these down to strapping on kneepads, which tend to shift and get sweaty.