The opportunity to upcycle trash, or turn it into new products, is abundant. Colombo Design Studio, Sri Lanka’s first industrial and product design consultancy, has partnered with Rice & Carry, a social enterprise upcycling gleeful bags from old rice sacks, to release plastic surfboard wax combs.
The product, made entirely from Rice & Carry’s off-cuts of polypropylene material, is manufactured using a CNC machined (a rapid-prototyping and manufacturing technique similar to 3D printing) mould fabricated by Colombo Design Studio.
Natural or synthetic wax is often applied to the deck of a surfboard, bodyboard, or skimboard, to keep surfers from slipping off their boards. Over time the wax becomes infused with sand and other grime, making it less effective and less comfortable. In order to resurface a deck, the old wax must be scraped off with a special tool — a wax comb — so as not to damage the board. But only a few surf and dive shops import wax combs for redistribution, particularly in Arugam Bay and Hikkaduwa.
“We started to think about other discarded materials that could benefit our society. It then occurred to us that it was lying right in front of us — the off-cut material from our upcycled bags,” added Susan, a spokeswoman for Rice & Carry. “After conversations with friends and community members passionate about surfing, the collected off-cut material seemed adequate for making plastic wax combs. Next, it was a matter of getting through to Lee from Colombo Design Studio.”
“We wanted to help Rice and Carry ‘excite’ their targeted customers,” said Lee Bazalgette, Founder of Colombo Design Studio. “Usually, it takes the smallest piece of innovation and creativity to make a large difference in one’s experience of a product. Combine that with the desire to turn trash into goods, we were compelled to turn Rice and Carry’s novel wax comb into something more than just an idea.”
Surprisingly, this is not the first time the two have worked together. Last year, Colombo Design Studio built Rice & Carry an environmentally conscious compost-lavatory at Whiskey Point, Arugam Bay. A project meant to serve the local community during the busy surf season. Colombo Design Studio and Rice & Carry, vocal supporters of the Precious Plastic project, will expect to strengthen their brand identities with the release of the ‘Rice & Carry Wax Comb’.
Colombo Design Studio is a product design and innovation consultancy, with a focus on 3D; industrial design, consumer products, household goods and more. The business also helps create innovative packaging and technology based design services including web and app development.
Rice & Carry is a small business whose aim is not to optimise profits but to empower and positively impact communities on Sri Lanka’s east coast. The social enterprise provides work in a small centralized production unit as well as within homes in different villages.