A few months ago sustainability expert Dan Firth approached the BMC with his idea for a new enterprise recycling climbing gear and in particular old rope. We thought his plans showed potential, and so we’ve been backing his efforts to research his business plan. Now the project is going live.
Having researched his idea of collecting rope and other gear and finding new uses or recycling options, Dan asked us to help him find some volunteers to help develop the business. In the medium term, he hopes to create a couple of either part-time or full-time jobs depending on how an initial pilot performs.
With our help, he has recruited a team of five working on different aspects of the project, from marketing to gear ‘deconstruction’ to finding somewhere to put all the stuff once it’s been collected. They are contributing a total of four to five days a week on the project.
Nine different walls in the Northwest have been identified and over the next few weeks, Dan and his team will be approaching them – with the BMC’s support – for their help in hosting a collection point.
Our announcement of the project proved more popular than even we imagined, so Dan has extended the initial limited geographical range of the pilot. Several volunteers applied from London, including a post-grad sustainability student, so to make use of their interest a second pilot will be set up in the Southeast of England –using the lessons learned from the Northwest team.
Dan’s research indicates that the margin on simply recycling used climbing gear will need to be supplemented by some imaginative re-use projects. So we’re pleased to announce the recycling project will be working with the Faculty of Art and Design at Manchester Metropolitan University on ways to re-use climbing gear as artworks and for more practical purposes.
The project started officially on 1 June, and the team has given itself three months to find out if the business model works. A proportion of any cash generated through the project will also go to the BMC's Access and Conservation Trust. The idea has been welcomed by some key figures in the Outdoor Industry, including Sarah Howcroft, who runs the Recycle Outdoor Gear project which focuses on re-using outdoor clothes.
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