KEEP ON TRUCKIN'
Tarpaulins, or tarp for short, are those oversized sheets of waterproof material used to protect large areas of land or property. Made out of tough plastic or polyurethane-covered canvas, trucking companies utilize them on the back of their flatbeds to keep their product safe from rain and snow. Super durable, truck tarps can often be used for years at a time, but when one needs to be replaced, it usually ends up in the trash, which is not exactly good for the environment. Enter Mat Dusting, a Somerset, UK 20-something with a little extra time on his hands. Mat was an avid snowboarder and skier (with a degree in industrial product design) who kept busting his sports bags when he came up with an idea -- to make a carry-all that was able to withstand his rough-and-tumble lifestyle. He scavenged for materials around the family farm when he found a piece of tarp and knew he was onto something. Matt made some patterns and bought a sewing machine. And then he remembered he had no idea had to sew. So he hired a couple of local seamstresses to help him turn his idea into reality. He was so pleased with the results that he decided to go into business and M-24 was born.
That was in 2012. Today, M-24 made more than 3,000 products and in the process has upcycled more than 10 tons of tarpaulin. When sourcing materials, Matt and his team are always on the look-out for the most colorful and graphic used tarps they can find. Materials are collected, washed, cut and sewn in southwest UK and the entire process has been thoughtfully designed to be as sustainable as possible. Eco-friendly soaps are used to clean the tarps and any extra scrap metal or plastic remnants are recycled as well. Bags come in two styles -- backpacks and duffles -- and each one is completely unique with its own authentically worn-in and marked-up surface with straps that are made from used seat-belts. Each bag has a unique history, spending years on the road, criss-crossing England over thousands of miles (imagine the stories they could tell!). Since M-24's launch, they've expanded to include wallets, iPad cases, keychains, and water bottles. And they're priced well, too, the largest bags ring in at about £85 (just over $100 USD), a small price to pay for a bag that is one-of-a-kind bag, sustainable, and built to last a lifetime.