Creating Innovative Sustainable Products

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Alchemist Creations http://alchemisthk.com/en/

Founded by three designers in 2012 under the motto “Turn Neglect Into Shine”, Alchemist Creations aims to upcycle commonly discarded waste into wearable fashion accessories. Its first product, the CAN-WATCH, turns the bottom of discarded cans into fashionable timepieces equipped with leather remnants from second-hand handbags.

The Challenges
According to statistics published by the Environmental Protection Department, every person in Hong Kong on average sends around 1.3 kilograms of municipal solid waste to the landfills per day. The amount of solid waste recycled also fell to a record low in recent years. Over 29,000 tonnes of drink cartons (paper, plastic and aluminium) are thrown away each year. Despite the fact that most of the materials are recyclable, little of it is recycled in the city and most end up dumped in the already-overfilled landfills.

The Solution
Using discarded aluminium and metal cans, Alchemist Creations’ CAN-WATCH turns the bottom of discarded cans into fashionable timepieces, paired with leather from unwanted handbags. The company has since launched the CAN-WEAR series for smart casual accessories and the CAN-CARRY series for hand-held accessories that recycles the entire aluminium can. To maximise the social impact, Alchemist partnered with the Christian Family Service Centre to set up a production line that provides job and training opportunities for disadvantaged and disabled people in sheltered workshops. The concept of upcycling wearable waste is relatively new and not yet fully accepted by the general public, with many still reluctant to consider using second-hand materials. To widen the appeal, Alchemist Creations emphasises the value of good design and local craftsmanship to enable customers to fully appreciate the exquisite skills in the design and creation of the products.

The Impact
Alchemist Creations products are available for purchase on its official website, at the HKTDC Design Gallery and at a physical retail space in PMQ. Alchemist Creations has recycled more than 30,000 aluminium and metal cans from local restaurants and campaigned for them to adopt more sustainable business practices. Alchemist now employs 15 employees with disabilities or from underprivileged communities, who are capable of high skilled work but often neglected by society. The company’s focus on local craftsmanship serves to nurture their potential and raise their confidence to contribute to society. The innovative CAN-WATCH was recognised internationally by the Red Dot Design award – Best of the Best in the watch and jewellery category in 2013.