Each year, the world’s leading hotel chains retire enough bed linens to circle the planet twice, according the Andy Marks, founder of the SleepingBags social enterprise in the United Kingdom.
To help combat this problem, Marks, a British entrepreneur, has developed a way to take those old linens and turn them into new products. SleepingBags brings together artists, designers, hotel chains and laundry facilities to create high-quality tote bags adorned with original artwork. They have also collaborated with hotels to make in-room amenities like laundry bags and suit covers, which the hotels can use for their guests. By doing so, SleepingBags creates a circle, ensuring some of a hotel’s waste can find new life in that same hotel.
In addition to tote bags, which the organization has produced since 2010, and products for hotels, SleepingsBags recently rolled out a new line of items, which range from robes and pajamas to yoga bags and furniture cushions.
“We want to achieve big things,” Marks tells Earth911. “We want to make some impression on the amount of linen discarded and keep it out of landfills. We want to find distribution partners [that] will help us put the product in front of a lot of people, to engage them in this story, to make them re-evaluate products and re-evaluate where things come from, where things go to.”
To accomplish this, SleepingBags has found new, creative ways of thinking about hotel waste. Keep reading to learn about SleepingBags’ efforts to make a social and environmental impact.
Next page: How the enterprise began