From plastic in landfill to sleek device cases

Targus plans to incorporate environmentally friendly materials into most of its products, global design and innovation VP says

by LYDIA NATHAN/ pic by BLOOMBERG

WHO would have thought that one day we could take recycled plastic bottles and turn them into mobile lifestyle products of high quality and excellent standards?

Targus Group International Inc, founded in the UK in 1983, did just that when it became the pioneer in notebook carrying cases. Today, the company has put sustainability at the top of its priority for product creation.

The company, which has distribution centres in 100 countries, has seen the EcoSmart cases sold in every region with sales units growing 129% compared to five years ago.

Targus global design and innovation VP Joanne Sessler said the groups’ involvement in creating eco-friendly cases stretched back to 2008 when it launched its first line of EcoSmart® products that incorporated fabric from recycled water bottles.

The new collection, Cypress EcoSmart® Collection is certified by Global Recycled Standard (GRS) and aims to reduce the number of plastic bottles destined for landfills by utilising them in the bag production.

This collection has sold over half a million units since 2009, and the new line will be Targus’s third collection.

“The line grew into other collections and has also resulted in being our number one selling bag.

“We have continued to expand our assortment to other products while increasing recycled material in our existing products and are looking at various sustainable initiatives outside of the cases line-up,” she told The Malaysian Reserve in an interview recently.

She said having the GRS standard also means that content can be tracked and traced, which falls under the Proposition 65 law and REACH compliant.

Sessler said Targus had, from the start, begun thinking of future trends and considered these when planning for products.

“Our design team recognised a movement around sustainability and embarked on an initiative to look at incorporating more ecoconscious materials into our products, while still maintaining the quality and protective features our pro-ducts are known for,” she said.

This new line of products, which include the Hero backpack, Slim backpack, Convertible backpack, slipcase and sleeves, were part of the groups’ journey to create products from sources that are eco-friendlier.

Sessler said the entire process of the production of the materials is traceable from the source of yarn fibre to the people making the yarn.

“The production starts with the collection of recycled bottles being cleaned and flaked. Then it is reformed into plastic pallets that are then repolymerised and spun into fibre. This fibre is woven into fabric and used to produce cases,” Sessler said.

She added that the group was awarded a Green Good Design Award for the Balance EcoSmart Backpack and believes based on the updated enhancements made to this new collection, the line is expected to do well.

“We’ve improved on enhancements, as well as increased recycled content, so we are positive about the new line and feel it is well-positioned to earn accolades as well,” she said.

Sessler said the recent pandemic has forced people to work from home even more than ever, which has resulted in a greater need for accessories to protect devices from breaking or getting damaged.

“We noticed people needed more laptop devices for protection since people are working from home mostly.

“Another trend we foresee taking place are the various environmental initiatives that will expand both during and post-pandemic in the future,” she said.

As for the company’s future plan, Sessler said as part of a global group, Targus has a 10-years goal to incorporate environmentally friendly materials into most of its products.

“Always advancing, we’re also continuing to incorporate technology into laptop cases, for example, wireless charging in backpacks, and expanding our protection technology utilised in our bags and tablet cases,” she said.