Rethinking Waste: From Oil to Clothing

Fracking BackPack

12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Overview

Basilotta innovated by recycling plastic polluted sandbags commonly used in the oil fracking industry into a premium line of products called “Fracking BackPack”. The innovation is made 100% from recycled products, 100% with local materials and labor.

This product line can be defined as having a triple positive impact: economic, social and environmental.

"Fracking BackPack" products contribute with SDG 12 because it encourages circular economy and provides a triple positive impact for the Basilotta business.

Authors

Mora Basilotta

Mora Basilotta

Ornella Basilotta

Ornella Basilotta

Carla Silvana Basilotta

Carla Silvana Basilotta

Ignacio Martínez

Ignacio Martínez

School

Pontificia Universidad Catolica Argentina

Pontificia Universidad Catolica Argentina

Professor

Aleandra Scafati

Aleandra Scafati

Innovation

The oil and gas fracking industry is the most polluting of the world. The activity needs for its operation to use tons of sand. That sand comes in plastic bags called sandbags. Those bags get polluted at the oil well. Because of that, they are transformed into a hazardous waste that needs a specific treatment. Most of the time, that treatment is not done properly because it is expensive.

Basilotta came across that reality on a trip made to Vaca Muerta, in Argentina, one of the biggest oil and shale gas reservoirs in the world. Reality challenged the Basilotta company, and so “Fracking BackPack" was born.

“Fracking BackPack" is a line of premium leather goods, made with the aforementioned "plastic oil contaminated sandbags" as the main raw material, combined with leather leftovers that tanneries discard. All the line of products are gender-free and trend-free (timeless).

Fracking BackPack´s social impact is visualized in its production chain, since the garments are made in various textile cooperatives, promoting fair work. Following an agreement carried out with the Municipality of the City of Neuquén, Basilotta works with "Las Emprendedoras", a local waste treatment cooperative in order to collect the sandbags.

"Fracking BackPack" are premium products because of their quality standards and their uniqueness. "We want to disassociate the idea of recycling as 'hippie'. Every product is different. There are no two identical pieces". Since it is premium product, the average price is USD 75 dollars.

"Fracking BackPack" products are targeted for the market segment known as "LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability)". They are people with a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, characterized by buying responsibly and purchasing goods that respect society and the environment.

The line includes: backpacks, notebook cases, wallets, toiletry bags, shoes and bags.

Rethinking Waste: From Oil to Clothing

Inspiration

In 2016, and in the midst of a personal and work-purpose crisis, Ornella Basilotta, co-founder and lead designer of the brand, proposed her siblings to move into a path towards a more sustainable, ethical and responsible business.

The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, and is known for poor and precarious labour conditions. Ornella could not stand this any longer: “I entered a personal and professional crisis. I could not ignore that fashion is a very polluting industry. If I was going to keep doing what I love, I should do it responsibly, otherwise it will become a burden".

During a local trip looking for new materials, natural and autochthonous fibers, Ornella learnt about the process of Vaca Muerta production waste treatment. That experience caught Ornella's attention, “seeing that enormous amount of polluted plastic sandbags as waste piled up, made me feel the need to find a solution from my expertise, thus, 'Fracking BackPack' was born".

Overall impact

The overall impact of the innovation can be explained by:

  • Promoting circular economy in a disrupting manner.
  • Transforming the fashion industry by reducing negative environmental and social impacts.
  • Reducing the green gas emissions by 32.691,6 Kg CO2 annually (recycling projection of 3,600 units during the year 2020).
  • Reducing the amount of waste generated on the fracking process in Vaca Muerta by 3,600 units during the year 2020.
  • Developing a responsible sustainable conscious in employees, workers and in our clients.
  • Working with fair labour practices with cooperatives.

Business benefit

The "Fracking BackPack" line of products estimates to have generated a revenue of USD 300,000 dollars for 2020.

The new line involves 100 workers in different cooperatives under fair working conditions.

Per month we estimate to recycle 1.000 meters of plastic oil polluted sandbags.

Basillota company has received many acknowledgments due to the "Fracking BackPack" brand:

  • Makers In BA (best sustainable project)
  • Participate in Facebook/Njambre accelerator program of impact projects
  • Participate in San Andres University (UDESA Incubator)
  • Feria Puro Diseño (best sustainable product)
  • Distinguished product with "good design seal" from the National Government

Social and environmental benefit

Plastic polluted sandbags already represent an environmental liability in the Province of Neuquén, where Vaca Muerta is located. Thus the problem is incipient since Vaca Muerta is currently working at a 6% capacity and the amount of waste generated is already too large for the waste management infrastructure located there. Therefore, "Fracking Backpack" is a way of giving a voice and to make people become aware of what it is happening in Vaca Muerta, and also it is a way of collaborating a little bit with the environment.

Fracking BackPack´s social impact is visualized in its production chain, since the products are made in various textile cooperatives where fair labour is promoted.

Interview

Ornella Basilotta, Fracking BackPack

Photo of interviewee

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Fracking BackPack

Fracking BackPack

Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, AR

Business Website: www.basilotta.com

Year Founded: 2016

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Fracking BackPack is an Argentinean fashion brand from Basilotta Business, that manufactures and sells recycled leather accessories made from "plastic oil polluted sandbags", which is waste from the Oilfield Vaca Muerta in Argentina.