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Trevor Kehler of U.S.E.D.: Recycling Seat Belts into Accessories

December 1, 2012

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Recycling more than 5,000 pounds of seat belts per year is just the beginning. U.S.E.D. aims to change how automotive shredder residue is collected and reused.

“The Truth is in your Trash”

U.S.E.D. (which stands for Unlimited Supplies from Everyone’s Discards) reclaims seatbelts from cars that have reached the end of their useful lives. We gather the belts and bring them to our shop to make bags, packs, purses and accessories. At this time, U.S.E.D. recycles about 5,000 pounds per year, and it looks like we will top that this year. But 5,000 pounds is but a scratch on the paint of the amount that is shredded and sent to the landfill annually.

0084 1024x681 Trevor Kehler of U.S.E.D.: Recycling Seat Belts into Accessories

There are about 1.2 million vehicles recycled in Canada each year. Twenty percent of the vehicle is not recycled, but shredded, as car components are separated from the reusable metal using magnets and shakers. This leftover 20% is called automotive shredder residue, or ASR, and it includes all plastics, rubber, glass, foam, etc. found in a vehicle. An industry-wide problem, ASR is hauled away to landfills. There is about 1 pound of seatbelt material per car. So, 1.2 million pounds of seatbelt webbing get landfilled in Canada each year.

 

DSCF7180 303x283 Trevor Kehler of U.S.E.D.: Recycling Seat Belts into Accessories

Trevor Kehler, Founder, U.S.E.D.

At U.S.E.D., we strive to reclaim as much of this ASR as we can and put it to good use. We work to make these issues visible. We strive to change the way this material is being dealt with. Our plan and our business model is to work with the industries involved. We contract the auto recyclers to harvest the seatbelt material for us, and they are then paid for a material that they previously paid to haul away as landfill waste. This is opening up new conversations and new opportunities between the auto industry and small business. Every product has a byproduct.

Trevor Kehler founded U.S.E.D in 2002 in Revelstoke, BC, Canada. He started by cutting apart a car tire and making a pair of sandals. U.S.E.D. has grown into a family business, currently manufacturing in Manitoba, Canada. U.S.E.D. products are sold in 65 retail outlets across North America. For more information, visit usedrecycled.ca.

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