Melbourne teen makes printing blanket recycling breakthrough

Isabella Commins, 16, was recently awarded the Victorian School Entrepreneur of the Year award after discovering a way to turn used blankets into a durable ‘scuff’ shoe.

Commins, whose father works at printing company Colorpak, used her younger brother as a model to fashion a basic child-sized ‘scuff’ with the aid of several blankets and glue.

She now plans to take the idea further, with one Australian charity interested in mass-producing the shoes for use in under-developed nations.

Focus Press managing director David Fuller told ProPrint that the great majority of printing blankets currently end up as landfill.

The print company has been getting its used blankets recycled each month since 2002, with most of the waste material ending up in the Phillipines.

“As far as I’m aware, it’s the only possible alternative, it’s either that or landfill,” Fuller said. “We even tried making work mats out of them, but it’s very difficult to do something else with them.”

“We spent quite some time trying to find someone to take our used printing blankets, because when a printer finishes with a blanket, there’s nothing wrong with it,” he added.

“I’ve put a few printers on to it. It’s something that I recommend. It’s a shame is hasn’t gone into higher use,” said Fuller.


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