nextstep.pngNext Step: A Greengineering Solution


What is Next Step?

Next Step is both our name and our philosophy when it comes to making new products from things that would otherwise be thrown away and end up in a landfill.

We call this process -- the reusing of the material from old products in order to create new products -- "Material Re-engineering."

Our main product line has involved creating various types of useful bags, using materials such as fused plastic (which we create by layering recycled plastic grocery bags and fusing them together with a hot iron), plastic mesh fabric, banner fabric (graciously donated to us by Green EXPO), and whole-foods bag fabric. The video to the right presents the first three fabrics:

As for the final material, whole-foods bag fabric is made by the company, Whole Foods, by recycling plastic bottles and other materials. Whole foods bags, once they've been taken home by a customer, damaged or soiled in some way, and returned to the store, are sent to us by the company in order to find another life for them.

Buy a bag with a purpose! The Greengineers have innovated bags made of 100% recycled materials (except the thread). Combining durability and style at an affordable price, our bags are created with a mission to put a sustainable product into your hands.
At the moment, we are only crafting our totes out of either fused plastic or whole foods bag fabric.
If you wish to purchase one of our bags, you can do so here.
We are also doing research into a vast array of other ideas, materials, and products, including:
-boiling plastic
-combining different types of plastic during fusion
-using origami and geometric nets in order to fold fused plastic and create toys and boxes/containers
-using thicker fused plastic as a waterproof substitute for cardboard
-crocheting strips of un-fused plastic or cutting up a sheet of material in a special way to create a stretchable fabric
-creating a thicker fabric by weaving whole foods bag straps
-building umbrellas, snowboard bags, wallets, trash-catchers (basketball-esque hoops that hang over trash barrels), shoes, and rain jackets out of whole foods fabric or fused plastic
-and more!
Tips for material re-engineering:
1. KEEP YOUR AREA CLEAN! After just a few days of cutting, snipping, sewing and fusing bags it can get a little disorganized. You may have some random scraps hanging around the workplace. We've noticed that having bins to hold scraps will keep an organized area.2. Have a specific area for finished projects. Much of your hard work can go to waste if you lose it in any scrap bins you may have. Have a shelf or large bin where you can store your bags, wallets, or any other projects you may have.3. Keep your sewing machine in good condition. They are extremely fragile, and you'll be sewing thick and sturdy materials that could be potentially harmful to the machine. It is important to understand this and to treat the machine with care. Many times your sewing machine may jam. This happens almost once every other day for us. Make sure you or someone with you knows how to fix these problems. These issues are easily solvable by reading your sewing machine manual as well.4. Make templates as accurate as you can. Without a perfectly accurate template, you will not have a properly shaped product.5. Do not throw out scraps or any unused material. Everything can become of use in material re-engineering.6. Take your time on a project. Rushing the fusing process, or sewing at too fast of a speed could result in inaccurate results or even a project.