Is this suitcase the future of sustainable luggage?

During the past decade or so, sustainability has come to play a central role in the travel conversation, from carbon offsets and social impact to environmentally-conscious destinations and responsible travel operators.

But luggage manufacturing is another story – while plenty of brands have taken up the cause over the years, gear that’s built around repurposed materials still isn’t the norm. With a new Kickstarter launching today, though, one company is betting big on going green. 

Phoenx's Kickstarter-backed carry-on is made from recycled and regenerated materials from top to bottom. Image © Phoenx

A London-based collective with the mission of enabling travel while reducing the footprint it leaves, Phoenx is introducing a carry-on suitcase made entirely from recycled and regenerated materials – the company’s debut offering. The modular, beveled-edge design features a dent-proof outer shell made entirely from recycled polycarbonate, with a wide aluminum handle, smooth-rolling Hinomoto wheels, and waterproof zippers, while the interior has a vacuum-sealed laundry bag that serves as a divider, as well as a removable backpack to save travelers from packing their own

The wide aluminum handle attaches to the shell from the outside, giving travelers more packing room inside. Image © Phoenx

“Sustainability guided design development,” says Phoenx co-founder Francesco Salom. “We were looking for a form that could meet our modular design concept and maximize space and strength.” That modular factor – and the ease with which it allows for each individual component to be repaired or replaced as necessary – was key, he adds. “It’s simple and unique when compared to all other suitcases, which have a short lifeline and end up being thrown away,” he says. Indeed, as he noted in the press release announcing the campaign, it’s made with an eye to the future: “when you feel it is time to renew it, you can send it back to us and choose between having it restyled by our creative design team or getting a new model.” 

The suitcase's rugged exterior is made from 100% recycled polycarbonate. Image © Phoenx

The process of turning waste like fishing nets, carpets, and rubber into stylish pieces of luggage began in January 2018 with market research, and Salom began to assemble his multinational creative team nine months later. “We all come from different academic backgrounds and professions,” he says, and “we all share the same passion for travel, sustainability, and design.” 

The modular Phoenx's outer shell is made from recycled polycarbonate, the handle is aluminum, and the wheels are Hinomoto's silent-run option. Image © Phoenx

Leading up to the carry-on’s launch, Phoenx sought advice from Oceanic Global, a nonprofit that helps industry professionals adjust their operations with an eye toward ocean health, and implemented what a company press release calls “an ethical flow that includes worker-friendly production.” As for the chosen platform, Kickstarter allows the brand to bring its product to a worldwide audience – one that demands innovation, Salom notes. “It’s a very interesting playground to launch a product and brand to receive feedback and improve,” he says. “It also allows us to head to mass production with the help of our early adopters.”

For more details on the Phoenx campaign, visit kickstarter.com.