Scott Kilmartin’s products are rubbish. And he’s not ashamed to admit it.
As the owner and founder of haul – a business that designs accessories from recycled materials – Scott proudly admits that his products are made from stuff other people throw away.
“I started haul with a desire to build a business that had a strong environmental message behind it, with an ongoing goal of making people view what is perceived to be as waste materials differently. We want to make boutique products that have a sustainable design driven edge,” Scott says.
Scott says his interest in the environment was always there. “Growing up in Tasmania and then traveling overseas and seeing the impact that bad decisions can make on the environment shifted my interest into career goals.”
And as their product range grows, Scott’s company is making an impact of its own.
The range is impressive. Messenger bags join Macbook cases and document satchels as just some of the gems haul has on offer.
“They’re produced from truck inner tubes, recycled billboard vinyl and rubber print blankets,” Scott says, “We’ve built our brand upon using recycled materials; so 70 per cent or more of each product comes from recycled materials. We source this from a wide range of places. Billboards come from the advertisers and from signage companies once a campaign has ended. We get rubber printing blankets from large-scale offset printers, and de-registered license plates from the transport department.”
We also take used materials from companies and turns them into document satchels, laptop sleeves, and luggage tags for that company.
“It’s not just about producing green products,” Scott says. “As a business we’re incorporating energy efficiency too. We’ve started buying green power, we’re moving towards being a paperless office, and we’re maximizing natural light in the workshop.”
Despite having considerable success – haul won the 2008 City of Melbourne B3000 award for business of the year – Scott cites “the biggest challenge as communicating the value of green products to consumers.” To assist in communicating the inherent value of being green, “we’ve changed our marketing focus and are emphasizing the design elements of our products. We find punters are drawn in by the look and feel of the product, and then feel good about it being born out of green materials.”
Furthermore, “green focused purchasing decisions still lag behind the trend forecasting. Costumers are only prepared to spend slightly more, under 10 per cent, for eco-products. So, pricing our offerings competitively is critical.”
Now that’s one small business doing big things for the environment.
Written by Lily Weinberg, Environment Victoria Storycatcher