The competition for the lowest cost bicycle helmet is hot, and being driven by the massive global expansion of bike share systems. An innovative London-based team of designers is refining the process of producing helmets from arguably the most sustainable product available, paper pulp.
We’ve all seen discarded newspapers on the subway, filling trash cans, or blowing along the street. Once read, the question of how best to utilize this discarded resource represents somewhat of a puzzle.
The creative trio – Tom Gottelier, Bobby Petersen, and Ed Thomas developed a paper mache system on steroids that brilliantly exploits the fibrous nature of this material. Their helmet design utilizes the reams of used news print that is freely available for collection, especially in our large cities. The quick, low-energy process to make the helmets is detailed in the video below. The sustainable business model (as long as we’re still reading news papers) produces a light-weight, low-cost (around $1.50 for each unit) helmet.
The immediate goal of the paper pulp helmet start-up is to supply low-cost, head protection for users of Barclays bike share system in London. Currently, Boston-based HelmetHub offers synthetic helmets to users of their Hubway bike share system for around $10.
Perhaps HelmetHub could change to the more sustainable, lower-cost paper pulp helmet and provide an even better service to the community?