Our journey started during a Sheffield Hallam University enterprise meeting in January 2021. We had a shared interest in making a positive environmental impact and enthused by the potential of the project, we set three core goals:
- Support and involve ourselves with local charities.
- Improve the quality of green spaces.
- Create an environmentally friendly product.
Inspired by images and news on sea plastic and pollution, we wanted to make a difference however we could. Our attention was taken closer to home to the amount of pollution in our local rivers. Motivated by the idea that discarded single-use plastics and rubbish isn't at the end of their life, we set to work thinking about how we could repurpose locally discarded litter.
After some discussion and research, we realised how easy it is to recycle certain types of commonly thrown-away material. The next step was to think about what product we would make using the materials accessible to us. The design needed to be simple as we had a short amount of time to design, develop and manufacture a product ready to sell, and due to Covid-19 lockdowns, we would have to do a lot of these processes at home and in our garden with limited tools. After discussing shared interests we decided that a plant pot fitted the criteria perfectly and provided us with the creative passion we needed.
Along with our shared love for plants we decided that the simplicity of a plant pot would be suited to this pro led us to the conclusion that a plant pot was the ideal product.
Without workshop access, the prototyping started in the back garden. Working with a small budget, we progressed the project using ‘tools’ such as sandwich presses, second-hand microwaves and yoghurt pots as moulds.
We reached out to the charities already working to clear waterways in and around Sheffield during the project. This is when we met The Don Catchment River Trust and our local branch of The Canal & Rivers Trust. They both have been so supportive of us from the start of the project. After our first litter pick with them they were very encouraging of the idea. Volunteers of the charity have been getting involved by providing us with the rubbish that they have collected in their personal time.
To say thank you for the support and to try and preserve our rivers we want to do our bit by donating a portion of our profits to the organizations that support us.
Where we are now
Since Graduating we have been working closely on a collaboration with the Sheffield jewellery manufacturer Bailey Of Sheffield, who has kindly allowed us our space within their workshop. This has meant we are able to progress our manufacturing capabilities along with growing our product range. We recently showcased new products at a recent event, Grand Designs Live in Excel London.
Due to a large variation in the waste collected from the rivers, there can be an inconsistent supply of recyclable materials. Often you may find a lot of tyres, car batteries and industrial waste. To allow us to continue to grow and work with these charities we have partnered with a local Sheffield restaurant Nam Song to recycle their plastic and glass waste. Nam Song is proud to be working with us to know that their waste is being recycled locally and ethically.
We want clean and healthy waterways globally and strive to have an international impact. Our immediate steps are to protect more UK rivers firstly, expand into more cities and encourage people to support and attend local litter picks. The volunteers and organisations we work with do so much for their communities and are very supportive of our project. We will raise awareness, donate a share of the profits, help them grow and show people the positive impacts of all the hard work. Plans to start running our own local events are underway and we hope to offer, encourage and inspire people to pursue careers in environmentally conscious directions. Proving that eco-friendly businesses can be successful.
Thanks for taking the time to find out more about us, we appreciate all support from the people who have taken an interest in this project. Together we can make a positive impact on our rivers and green spaces.
To follow our progress check out our social media accounts; @flod.uk on Instagram and Facebook and our TikTok is @teamflod